Amber Heard

magicmike02

It was revealed this week that Matthew McConaughey is not returning to the glitz and glamour of the Magic Mike stage to resume his role of Dallas, godfather of all strippers. It’s like you win one Oscar and you just can’t wear a pair of casual leather chaps for the amusement of some Tampa cougars, geez. But blessedly, the several other stars from the cast are returning for the sequel — including  Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Alex Pettyfer, Gabriel Iglesias and Joe Manganiello – all unlimitedly talented when it comes to wearing tearaway pants, flirting with drug abuse and maybe crafting some custom furniture in their downtime. The second installment, titled Magic Mike XXL and directed by Gregory Jacobs, will also brings a trio of talented women into the mix: Andie MacDowell, Jada Pinkett Smith and Amber Heard. While it’s unclear who MacDowell is playing, the plot involves our intrepid band of male exotic dancers heading on a road trip together to a strippers’ convention. It’s not exactly “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” with your siblings cross-country to Grandma’s, but family’s what you make it, right? Aside from the road trip premise, XXL‘s details are being held tightly under wraps. Aside from the stripping, of course. So, so much stripping.

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mcg shooting 3 days to kill

Imagine a med student with orange dreadlocks down to his ass during the early 1990s. Do you have that horrifying mental image yet? Any takers on who that now-famous man might be? That’s right, it’s Joseph McGinty Nichol from Kalamazoo, Michigan. Like plenty of driven young filmmakers, Nichol one day dropped out of school, packed his things and moved to Hollywood. Without any connections, he pushed his way into the industry with the help of a pizza delivery service. He put a copy of one of his music videos in a pizza box and had it delivered to an executive, who was tickled enough to give it a watch. That box of pizza gave birth to the man we all now know as McG, the director behind Charlie’s Angels, We Are Marshall, Terminator Salvation and his newest film, 3 Days to Kill. Nichol has had that nickname ever since he was a kid. In some ways, it is representative of his career: a little silly, but self-aware and unapologetic. “It’s never been fun to critically praise a ‘McG movie,’” he jokes. “It even begins with my ridiculous name. My name is who I am. My movies seem to further that difficulty. I try for drama, humor and action and yet try to make well-rounded movies.” General audience members could care less about Nichol’s nickname, but it’s turned him into a punching bag on the Internet, for both fanboys and, sometimes, critics.

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3 days to kill 21

One of the first things answered in 3 Days to Kill is that this isn’t in fact a Taken retread. Maybe it’s a parody of the Liam Neeson-starring action movie — self-parody given that both movies are written and produced by Luc Besson — but the tone is surprisingly closer to the delectably cartoonish hitman movie Shoot ‘Em Up mixed with the frustratingly dumb fourth and fifth Die Hard installments. With bits of The Visitor thrown in for pretty much no reason at all. It is a bizarrely stylish yet broadly comic pulp thriller more interested in the familiar trope of an absent father trying to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter than the spy plot it’s primarily sold on. In playing with genre and narrative expectations the movie becomes extremely silly, maybe intentionally so, but also filled with plot holes and unanswered questions — also maybe intentionally without concern. If Besson does mean to make fun of what he’s been doing with the Taken franchise (and maybe some of his early success with action heroines) the result is quite cheeky but still rather unmemorable considering we’ll still always favor Neeson and his very particular set of skills to Kevin Costner and his overly non-particular talent as the best worst (or worst best) cleaner for the CIA. This may be the kind of movie that doesn’t warrant going over unanswered questions, especially if the filmmakers meant for little thinking on their or our part at all, but below I’ve highlighted […]

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3 Days to Kill Review

14 years ago McG successfully transitioned from music videos to film with Charlie’s Angels, but his films that followed varied in quality. For the most part, he’s tagged with the less-than-flattering title of a “hack.” A director only invested in a buck wouldn’t have made We Are Marshall, but there’s no denying he generally aims for a broad audience. Sometimes that means he make the most obvious choices instead of the most inspired, but the same cannot be said for his newest movie, 3 Days to Kill. Screenwriters Luc Besson and Adi Hasak have finally given McG a well-rounded script to bring to life. 3 Days to Kill is mostly lean, often funny, and its central character, Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner), is a respectable addition to Besson’s long line of bad-asses. Ethan is a top operative ready to quit so he can have more time with his wife (Connie Nielsen) and his estranged daughter, Zoey (Hailee Steinfield). His plans hit a snag though when he discovers he’s dying. The only way he can buy more time is by taking an experimental drug, offered by Vivi Delay (Amber Heard), in exchange for his services. So, yes, this is another “one last job” and father-daughter issues action movie.

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3 days

As the old saying goes: the more Kevin Costner, the better. At least that’s what the saying should be, as Costner brought a ton of heart to Man of Steel and will soon appear in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. It’s unclear whether he will get to smack some thugs around in that movie, and if that’s not the case, he’ll have the opportunity to do so a month later in 3 Days to Kill. Costner plays Ethan Runner, a dying ex-secret service agent who, in service for one last mast mission, is handed an experimental drug that’ll give him more time with his estranged daughter (Hailee Steinfeld). Since the movie is directed by McG and co-written by Luc Besson (The Fifth Element), it’s not as serious as it sounds. The first trailer for the film gives a clear sense of what they’re aiming for. Take a look:

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cc all the boys love mandy lane

Seven years is a long time to wait between a film’s festival premiere and its release, but better late than never I guess. Jonathan Levine is best known for star-studded films like 50/50 and Warm Bodies, but his debut feature, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, has actually become his most recent. It was picked up by the Weinsteins after a successful premiere at TIFF in 2006… and then disappeared. Well, it disappeared from U.S. shores but found minor success overseas and a cult status here in the States. Unless you saw it at a festival appearance (or were savvy enough to import a copy from the UK), 2013 was the first real chance to see Mandy and figure out why all the boys love her. Seven years of hype and expectations are a lot to meet, but the movie remains an attractive and fun little retro slasher that has a surprising amount to say about teenagers, bullying, body issues, and more. Plus, you know, Amber Heard. The film hit Blu-ray/DVD this week, and the only special feature included is a commentary from Levine. The nearly bare-bones nature would normally be something to criticize, but knowing the long, hard road this film had to travel the presence of a newly-recorded commentary is more than enough of a bonus.

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All The Boys Love Mandy Lane

Seven years after it first premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and countless jokes about how no boys love Mandy Lane later, Jonathan Levine‘s All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is finally getting its theatrical release. Starring a then-unknown Amber Heard as the titular teenage babe, the film follows a group of crazy kids who decide to decide to head to the good ‘ol cabin in the woods for some unsupervised partying in what appears to be an Abercrombie catalog. When good girl Mandy finally agrees to come along, it’s just icing on the cake. Too bad this is the weekend that the partiers start dropping like flies in increasingly gorier murders. What a buzzkill. Check out the trailer for yourself here:

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All The Boys Love Mandy Lane

In September 2006, Jonathan Levine‘s All the Boys Love Mandy Lane was part of the Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness slate alongside Bong Joon-ho’s The Host and Borat. Shortly thereafter it made the festival rounds, picking up some love and a distribution deal with Dimension Films. Then, nothing. It became a bit of an urban legend, taunting American horror audiences who wanted the Amber Heard-starring slasher roots flick to play near them. It screened in the UK in 2008, and those in the know took advantage of the Blu-ray import which propelled it toward moderate financial success. Then, nothing. In the meantime, Levine secured praise for The Wackness and went on to make the cancer comedy 50/50, and Heard broke out with Never Back Down and Pineapple Expresses, going on to a steady, eclectic career. Then, nothing. Until now.

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Syrup

Is it possible that all of your likes, your dislikes, the very tastes that you feel define you as a human being, aren’t really choices that you’ve made for yourself at all, but ideas that have been sold to you by slick, suit-wearing predators who pride themselves on being able to tap into your ego and insecurities in order to brainwash you into believing whatever what they want you to believe? Are you such a mindless follower that you’ve bought your entire identity off of a billboard? These are the heady questions at the center of Max Barry’s debut novel “Syrup,” which is a satirical tale set in the world of product marketing. And they’re the heady questions at the center of director Aram Rappaport’s new film adaptation of the story, which stars names like Shiloh Fernandez, Brittany Snow, and Amber Heard.

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Today was basically Godzilla day on the Internet. All sorts of news regarding Legendary Pictures’ reboot of the big green guy’s film series broke, and some of it involves casting. THR broke the news that Joseph Gordon-Levitt was being looked at to star, but one of their writers, Borys Kit, was then quick to point out that his potential involvement in the film is long dead. Variety writer Justin Kroll then jumped in with the news that a few names that are still possibilities for the project are Henry Cavill, Scoot McNairy, and Caleb Landry Jones. All of this news comes with a special thanks to /Film, who compiled all the chatter into a tight little narrative. Even though things between Gordon-Levitt and Godzilla didn’t work out, don’t let that make you think that he’s going to go an entire week without being attached to a high profile project. In more Gordon-Levitt news, Deadline has word that the in-demand actor has just signed on to play a big role in Robert Rodriguez‘s Sin City sequel, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Apparently he’s going to be playing Johnny, a role that was meant to go to Johnny Depp at one point, and that is said to be a core character in the overlapping parts of the film’s story lines. This comes at the same time as news that Gordon-Levitt’s possible involvement in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy isn’t going to end up happening, which is essential information if you happen to be exhaustively journaling all […]

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Jackie Chan

What is Casting Couch? It’s a column that has a lot of new casting news today, so settle in. Even after only two movies, the number of aged action stars who have yet to appear in Sylvester Stallone’s Expendables series has dwindled down to a select few. So, given his age, his lengthy resume, and the way he’s linked almost exclusively to the action genre, Jackie Chan has to be seen as one of the biggest fish out there that Stallone has yet to catch. It looks like that’s going to change in The Expendables 3, however, as Chan has told Cinema Online [via Coming Soon] that Stallone has invited him to join the cast of the film, and he has agreed to appear as long as it’s in a featured part and not just a cameo. Looks like we might finally get our chance to see Dolph Lundgren get beat up with a ladder.

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Adrien Brody

Let’s take this moment to recount the many actors who have been attached to star in Albert Hughes‘ Motor City. First, Dominic Cooper was set as the lead, then he left and Jake Gyllenhaal looked poised to step in, and then ol’ Gylley left and Gerard Butler swooped in for the role. Along the way, other names like Chris Evans and Jeremy Renner were mentioned for the lead, and even Mickey Rourke got some buzz earlier this summer when he was mentioned for an undisclosed role. Yet, despite all that upheaval, co-stars Amber Heard and Gary Oldman have managed to stay consistently attached for months. Well, scratch that. A new report from Variety passes along word that Adrien Brody is now in negotiations for the villain role that Oldman had been set to play. This, in turn, leads us to an under-reported bit (also from Variety, via The Playlist) from way back in June that notes that both Oldman and Heard had left the project. Hughes better get moving on finding a new leading lady for Butler, who will play a newly-released felon bent on revenge in the Chad St. John script, as the film is set to start shooting on September 17th in Atlanta. Motor City is expected to be released next April.

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Yesterday it was revealed that actress Kristen Stewart had flown the coop on director Nick Cassavetes. She was supposed to star in his upcoming thriller, Cali, but instead she’s decided that her time will be better spent doing a film called Lie Down in Darkness for Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart). That’s great for her, but what about Cassavetes and the guy she was supposed to be starring opposite, Alex Pettyfer? Don’t cry for them just yet, because it looks like they’ve wasted no time in replacing the Twilight vet. JoBlo has heard that a slightly older, slightly blonder actress, Amber Heard, has stepped in to take her place. Though you may not recognize Heard’s name right away, chances are you’ve seen her in several things and just never connected the name to the face. Recently she’s appeared in things like Zombieland, the Nic Cage masterpiece Drive Angry, and the Johnny Depp-as-Hunter-S.-Thompson disappointment The Rum Diary. Most pertinent to this story though, Heard already has experience working with Cassavetes, as she appeared in his 2006 drug drama Alpha Dog.

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A report out of GossipCop (I know, I’m sorry) reveals that Kristen Stewart is apparently dropping out of her starring role in Nick Cassavetes’ Cali. Stewart’s role would have been as Mya, one half of a Southern California couple (with Alex Pettyer set to play her boyfriend) who sell a fake snuff film in order to make some quick cash and ditch out of town, only to be pulled back in by some baddies a year later. The outlet also reveals that Amber Heard has been asked to come on for the role, but there is no word on whether or not she will accept. While the “cops” over at the outlet couldn’t get an official comment from anyone involved (including Stewart’s reps, Heard’s rep, and production company Voltage Productions), they did reveal that Voltage told them that “an announcement would be made soon.” Stewart is also an executive producer on the project, so this doesn’t seem like a case of her cutting bait on a project she didn’t like anymore. Variety has also confirmed the news that Stewart is out. [GossipCop, via Gawker]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column dedicated to movie news and links, written hastily this evening because its author is due to get in line and see The Avengers at a midnight show. Please excuse errors in spelling, grammar, logic and common sense — beyond the usual, of course. We begin with a new shot of The Lizard in The Amazing Spider-Man. He’s holding Peter Parker’s camera, which he will likely crush in a sign of his abject disrespect for the young spiderkund. He’s quite scaly.

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Albert Hughes‘s next film (sorry, Akira remake that I pray to God never happens), Motor City, has been spinning its wheels for months now, mainly because it’s been unable to hold on to a leading man. The film has had a number of hot names attached to it for its male lead – including Dominic Cooper, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jeremy Renner, and Chris Evans – but none of them has stuck, with scheduling conflicts often to blame. The film is a somewhat interesting one, a sort of standard issue revenge story that could be spiced with some stylistic flash and a solid cast, and it centers on a recently-released criminal who goes after the people who put him in the big house. With Cooper, Gyllenhaal, Renner, and Evans all of the table, Variety now reports that Gerard Butler is in negotiations with Warner Bros. and Dark Castle to star in the film. He would star alongside Amber Heard (who has managed to stay attached the film through other casting woes) and Gary Oldman (the principal villain). While he’s a bit older than Cooper and Gyllenhaal, Butler certainly has the grit and brawn to bring a revenge-set criminal to life, so let’s hope this latest casting works out.

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Albert Hughes’ next project, Motor City, is in a bit of a pickle. You see, Dominic Cooper was all set to star in the movie, playing a recently released prisoner going about the business of tracking down the men who framed him and thus sent him away. There have been some scheduling conflicts, however, and Cooper has now been forced to drop out. So what’s a director to do? In this case, Hughes is solving his problem by looking at an even bigger name to step in and take over. Variety is reporting that Jake Gyllenhaal is currently in negotiations to become Motor City’s new leading man. Gyllenhaal is an actor who hasn’t been working much lately, so there shouldn’t be any further scheduling conflicts if he signs on. Then again, Gyllenhaal hasn’t been working much lately, and clearly that must be his choice, so what’s it going to take to get his name on the dotted line? You have to imagine that Motor City’s producers are pretty intent on getting Gyllenhaal signed, sealed, and delivered, as he’s one of the few people out there who still has enough star power to guarantee a few extra box office dollars on opening night, so whichever way this one goes, we should know the results soon.

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Despite the fact that her latest television turn went bunny tail up with the cancellation of The Playboy Club, actress Amber Heard isn’t letting that slow her down, as she’s just signed on for next starring feature role. Heard will play the female lead in Albert Hughes‘ Motor City from a script by newcomer Chad St. John (newcomer or not, Motor City was one of two St. John scripts that landed on 2009’s Black List). The film will mark Hughes’ first solo effort, having directed no less than four features and one documentary with his brother Allen as The Hughes Brothers (including From Hell, The Book of Eli, and Menace II Society). The film is described as a revenge thriller, with Dominic Cooper playing the male lead, “a man released from prison who goes on a revenge mission, hunting down the people who framed him.” While this is not necessarily a very original idea, it will be somewhat refreshing to see an on-screen anti-hero that’s not Dwayne Johnson or Vin Diesel or similar. Cooper is a vastly talented actor (his dual work in The Devil’s Double is proof positive of that). And, pardon me while I succumb to my ladyhood here, but Heard and Cooper are likely to turn in some scorching chemistry. [Deadline Ferndale]

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The Rum Diary marks Johnny Depp’s return to Hunter S. Thompson territory, following his cult favorite work in Terry Gilliam’s delirious adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Yet audiences expecting more of the same drug-fueled mania will be disappointed. While it’s filled with offbeat characters and the occasional stylistic quirk, Bruce Robinson’s film offers a straightforward, earnest narrative about a young marble-mouthed author finding his writing voice while fighting capitalist corruption. Set in a volatile Puerto Rico, circa 1960, Thompson’s semi-autobiographical story follows struggling journalist/alter ego Paul Kemp (Depp) as he joins the staff at a local rag run by domineering editor-in-chief Lotterman (Richard Jenkins). It’s a day-to-day portrait of Kemp’s hard living in paradise, set against a backdrop of conflict between the natives hoping to protect their land and the capitalistic cronies interested in transforming the archipelago nation into an overdeveloped tourist spot.

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Getting The Rum Diary to both page and screen has been a real trip. Hunter S. Thompson wrote the book back in the 1960s, chronicling his adventures writin’ and boozin’ and livin’ down in Puerto Rico (as told through the eyes of his alter-ego “Paul Kemp”), but it was not published until 1998. A film adaptation has been kicked around since 2000, with the film ultimately lensing in 2009, though the film won’t be released until later this year. Johnny Depp plays Kemp in the film, marking Depp’s second attempt at playing Thompson (or, more accurately, a Thompson-based character from the author’s own work), after turning in one of his best performances as the gonzo journalist in Terry Gilliam’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas back in 1998. Depp again takes on his Thompson twang for another dip into the life of the icon. This time, drugs have been swapped for rum, the deserts of Vegas for the oceans of Puerto Rico. The Thompson follies will likely not abate, however. The film also stars Amber Heard, Aaron Eckhart, Richard Jenkins, Giovanni Ribisi, and Amaury Nolasco. Kick back, take a sip, and check out the trailer after the break.

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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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published: 12.15.2014
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published: 12.12.2014
D+


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