Anne Hathaway

Rio 2

These days animated films can go one of two ways: either you’re making something original and potentially interesting, or you’re making a sequel to that something original and potentially interesting you made previously because there’s a studio behind it that likes money. Such is the story of Blue Sky Studios and filmmaker Carlos Saldanha. Several times now Saldanha and the very talented animators at Blue Sky have given us something interesting. This includes Ice Age in 2002, Robots in 2005 and Rio in 2011. And with the exception of one (the sadly underrated and clever Robots), they’ve come back for more every single time. Four times in the case of Ice Age. Why? Because kids like it, parents will pay for it and these movies sell toys of prehistoric squirrels just trying to find a nut. Does the mere idea of a sequel discount a movie’s quality? No. Does the fact that they are treading on well-worn narrative ground take anything away from the vibrant animation? Not at all. These movies have plenty of right to exist. Most of them are financial, but some of them are creative. Still, that doesn’t make it any less sad to see talented teams doing pre-merchandising work when we know they’re capable of telling us original and unique stories. As I sat in a mostly empty Thursday evening screening of Saldanha and Blue Sky’s latest sequel, Rio 2, I was struck with a thought as that prehistoric squirrel scampered around the Blue Sky introduction logo: I wish that guy who co-directed Robots would […]

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Rio 2

Our latest edition of upcoming films featuring Sassy Animals Doing Things (click each link; they all lead to different animated critter movies) features the trailer for Rio 2, the sequel to the cutest depiction of smuggling ever depicted on film. Blu (Jesse Eisenberg), Jewel (Anne Hathaway), and their three little bird-children are still living happily in their sanctuary, but life gets a little bit boring when you have wings and you can’t stretch them. So they decide to take a trip to the Amazon to spice things up. “We’re not people, we’re birds,” Jewel says to her husband. Could have fooled me, talking bird-wife who lives in a house. Once in the mighty rainforest, they meet a host of new crazy macaws (like Jewel’s father), and attempt to reconnect with their roots. Even in animated bird form, Eisenberg still gets stuck playing the neurotic one who has a Very Bad Feeling About All Of This and needs to use a Swiss Army Knife as an extension of his claws. Note the bird who is there to make wacky remarks like “AMA-WHAAAT?” when they announce the gang is going to the Amazon, or “the Amazon is pop pop poppin!” South America has such a beautiful array of birds. Like the original, Rio 2 is saturated by gorgeous colors and music that will keep it captivating after the dialogue stops poppin. Check out the trailer here:

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Paramount announced today that principal photography is officially underway in Canada for Christopher Nolan‘s galactic voyager movie Interstellar. The film, based on a combination of an original idea by Nolan and an existing script by Jonathan Nolan, follows a group of intrepid explorers who use a wormhole to bend the limits of human travel and experience a radical space journey. On this fantastic voyage? Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Topher Grace, John Lithgow, Ellen Burstyn, and Michael Caine, among others. Nolan is re-teaming with his usuals: production designer Nathan Crowley, editor Lee Smith, and composer Hans Zimmer for the film as well. Though not much is known about the film yet besides these little tidbits, it sounds like a fantastic sci-fi affair with the trappings for something of epic proportions. Can you just picture Michael Caine hurtling through a wormhole set to a Hans Zimmer score? Because I’m definitely imagining that right now, and it’s the best movie of the year. Interesting to note: renowned physicist Kip Thorne is consulting on the film, as well as serving as executive producer, so this wormhole journey might actually be pretty factual. Interstellar is in theaters November 7, 2014.

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Anne Hathaway

Christopher Nolan’s next film as a director, Interstellar, is something of a mystery. We know that it was originally set up by Steven Spielberg, that it has something to do with wormholes and time travel, and that Jonathan Nolan was brought on board to write the initial script, but any sort of plot or character specifics have been closely guarded. Lately some casting news regarding the sure-to-be-huge blockbuster has started to leak though.

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dashes

What is Casting Couch? It’s a roundup of all the day’s casting developments that are fit to print. Read on to find out about a cool cameo Gareth Edwards set up for Godzilla. Though she’s still in the early stages of her directing career, Lynn Shelton (Humpday, Your Sister’s Sister) has already proven that all she really needs is a couple of good actors and a room to shoot in, and she’ll be able to make a good movie. It stands to reason, then, that her next project could be the biggest thing she’s ever done, because Deadline is reporting that it’s close to landing a trio of high profile and extremely talented actors. Anne Hathaway, Chloe Moretz, and Sam Rockwell are all close to signing on for Laggies, which sees Hathaway playing an immature twenty-something who hides from her life for a week with her new teenage best friend (Moretz) after she’s spooked by a marriage proposal. Rockwell is reportedly up for the role of some old dude named Craig.

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James Marsden

What is Casting Couch? It’s your handy one stop destination for news about what all of your favorite and least favorite actors are up to next. Today we’ve got news about Anne Hathaway’s latest excuse to sing and what Adam Sandler’s next excuse to get paid to go on vacation with a beautiful actress will be. When James Marsden first caught international attention, it was as the stone-faced and charisma-free Cyclops in Bryan Singer’s first X-Men movie. People didn’t have much love for him back then. But since then he’s shown in things like Enchanted and Death at a Funeral that he’s not so bad when he’s letting his figurative hair down and getting a little goofy. That’s a good thing, because now we don’t have to meet Deadline’s report that he’s just become the latest name to join the Anchorman 2 cast with annoyed groans. Apparently Marsden will be playing Ron Burgundy’s rival news anchor, which sounds like quite a bit of fun, because Marsden can do smug pretty well.

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oscar13_supportingactress

When it comes to acting categories, especially supporting, predicting who’s going to come away with the Academy Award is always a much easier bet than, say, Best Picture or Director. Looking over the past few years, there haven’t been many upsets when it comes to supporting categories. Based on this year’s list of nominees, expect the same results. All the critically lauded films are represented here. So, before we get into the breakdown of the nominees, here is a shout out to a few actresses who were overlooked during this awards season: Emily Blunt (Looper), Jennifer Ehle (Zero Dark Thirty), Ann Dowd (Compliance), and Lauren Ambrose (Sleepwalk with Me). Whether it’s because they’re in sci-fi film or a little seen indie, none of them received the recognition they deserved. But these actresses did. Here are the nominees for Best Supporting Actress with my predicted winner in red…

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Les Miserables and Joan of Arc

What is the very best way to use of the close-up? Is it best to save close-ups for the emotional arcs of a film, or to introduce a character? Can too many close-ups leave audiences feeling claustrophobic, and can too few prevent us from properly identifying with characters? Much has been made of Tom Hooper’s controversial use of the close-up for Les Miserables. The lack of critical consent over the film’s close-ups could be a major reason why Hooper has been on few shortlists for directing awards, even as the film garners attention fin other categories. Hooper’s use of the close-up perhaps reaches its apex early on, in an extended shot of Anne Hathaway as Fantine singing “I Dreamed a Dream,” a sequence that has been generally celebrated as the film’s strongest moment and ostensibly ensured Hathaway’s lock for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. But Hooper’s isn’t the first filmmaker known for implementing the close-up liberally and controversially. How does Hooper’s use of the close-up for a film musical compare to one of cinema history’s most famous close-up-structured films, Carl Theodor Dreyer’s silent masterpiece The Passion of Joan of Arc?

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Anne Hathaway

According to The Wrap, Anne Hathaway is coming off her Golden Globe win with an eye on playing Shakespeare they way it’s meant to be played. Screenwriter Abi Morgan (Shame, The Iron Lady) is crafting a script that takes the Bard’s “Taming of the Shrew” and places it in mid-20th century America for producer Debra Hayward and Working Title. Obviously this isn’t the first adaptation to be shifted in time and it won’t be the last, but it should be a fun one with Hathaway and Morgan involved. Although hopefully it’ll have more laughs than The Iron Lady. The story — which is focused on a young woman anxious for love but forbidden from looking for it until her righteous bitch of a sister is married off — should find a welcome home in the mid-20th century, especially if that’s code for “The 1950s.” Funny how something that resonated in the late 16th century could ring even louder today. That Shakespeare guy must have been good.

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argo_29

One of the big surprises of the 2013 Golden Globe Awards involved a sort of “Argo-f**kyourself” to the Academy Awards, as Oscar-snubbed Ben Affleck was named Best Director of the year. His film, Argo, also ended up winning Best Picture in the drama category. Early in the night, in a brilliantly hilarious monologue by co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, the ceremony offered some foreshadowing with subtle jabs at the Oscars with immediate shout outs to Affleck and fellow Academy snubs in the director category, Kathryn Bigelow and Quentin Tarantino. They even fit in a joke directed at Anne Hathaway about her 2011 Academy Awards ceremony co-hosting gig with James Franco. Hathaway expectantly wound up winning for Best Supporting Actress, though, and her film, Les Miserables won Best Picture – Comedy or Musical. Co-star Hugh Jackman was a bit of s surprise as Best Actor – Comedy or Musical. More than who won and what didn’t, people will be talking about the somewhat cryptic speech by Cecil B. DeMille Award winner Jodie Foster and the appearance by Bill Clinton to present Best Picture nominee Lincoln. Speaking of Lincoln, Daniel Day-Lewis surprised nobody by winning Best Actor – Drama. But at least I ended up surprised that he did a comedy 25 years ago called Stars and Bars, which I need to see immediately. My Golden Globes live-blog co-host, Daniel Walber, alerted me to that. And if you didn’t follow us during the ceremony, which we found far more enjoyable than […]

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JENNIFER LAWRENCE and BRADLEY COOPER star in SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

The 70th Golden Globe Awards will be held tomorrow night, and I invite you to join myself and FSR’s awards guru, Daniel Walber, for live-blog commentary during the ceremony. We’ll try to keep it smart, avoid too much snark and will likely be obeying the rules of the drinking game that co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have devised. It will also hopefully be more conversational than remarks we could have just tweeted, in order that I can turn the discussion around as a more readable post-event recap of the night. In case you’re too busy paying attention to your TV to also read our words simultaneously. Anyway, you can’t head into a big awards telecast viewing without predictions for what you think will win. Daniel and I seem to agree on exactly half of the movie categories. So, maybe it won’t be such a predicable night. Check out our choices after the break and give us your own predictions in the comments. If you do better than either of us, we commend you in advance (and maybe at the end of our GG coverage too).

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Screen Shot 2012-12-17 at 4.53.07 PM

There is a lot of buzz about the live singing on the set Les Misérables. All of the actors sang as the cameras rolled rather than recording in a studio first, and that’s a great accomplishment since many of the actors have wonderful singing voices and don’t exactly need autotuning. This live singing in combination with the film’s grand scope – finally, a film of the legendary Boublil/Schönberg musical! – is supposed to make this a great film. But, very sadly, it does not. While the film is filled with a lot of great talent and certainly is watchable, it buckles under the often mind-blowingly heavy-handed direction by Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) and never becomes the epic piece of cinema that it so clearly set out to be. The story is fairly common knowledge (and quite involved), but Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is finishing up his prison sentence for breaking into a house and stealing a loaf of bread. He thinks he is free, but because of being on a stringent parole at the hand of Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe) he cannot get employment after his sentence is over. Valjean vows to make another go of it and when we find him years later, he is living under an assumed identity as the mayor of a small town. Valjean pays his good fortune forward when he helps factory worker-come-prostitute Fantine (Anne Hathaway). After Fantine’s death, he bails her young daughter Cosette (Isabelle Allen) out of an abusive boarding house […]

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Matt Damon

What is Casting Couch? It’s not so much a couch as it is a list, a list of recent castings. And it seems to be talking a lot about World War II today. George Clooney and Matt Damon must have decided that they both look super handsome when they’re standing next to each other, because not only have they already worked together on the Oceans movies and Syriana, but now Deadline is reporting that Clooney has decided that he’s going to cast Damon in his next project as a director, The Monuments Men. This is that one about the museum curators who try to save as many artifacts and works of art as possible during the Nazis’ slash and burn campaign that took place during the dying days of World War II. If Damon’s negotiations go well and he signs up, he’ll be joining a cast that already includes Clooney himself, Daniel Craig, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville, and Bob Balaban—which is enough big name actors that they should probably just cash in and rename this thing Oceans Monuments Men.

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Les Miserables

Let it never be said that director Tom Hooper took the easy road with his follow-up feature to his Oscar-winning The King’s Speech. While Hooper’s decision to again tackle a period piece with a new film version of an already often-adapted piece of work might have seemed simple when it was first announced, Hooper’s inspired idea to make his Les Miserables as close to an actual stage production as possible is anything but safe or expected. With Hooper making the bold decision to use “live” singing from his cast (not going the more traditional route of lip-syncing and recording tracks in post-production), his version of Les Miserables places quite the premium on getting truly great musical performances out of its stars. Which is why it might be confusing to many a moviegoer that the cast of Hooper’s Les Mis is rounded out by big name movie stars that most people wouldn’t necessarily associate with the Great White Way. But Hooper knew exactly what he was doing when he cast such stars as Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathway, and Amanda Seyfried in his film, because while the cast of Les Miserables is rife with well-known acting talent, it’s also filled to the brim with exceptional (and, in most cases, exceptionally trained) songbirds. Not sold on the dulcet tones and vocal stylings of this new Les Mis cast? Let’s take a look at their singing backgrounds.

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Drinking Games

You may have heard of the small independent film The Dark Knight Rises, which hit theaters this summer. Now, it’s out on DVD and Blu-ray, and also available in a box set of all the Nolanverse Batman movies. Bat-fans around the world can finally die happy in the Mayan apocalypse with the knowledge that they can have this movie in their Blu-ray collection. Of course, the film does run close to three hours, and in the privacy of your own home, it’s something that can be enjoyed with a drink in hand. You may not get as tipsy as Bane does with that opium-fueled mask he has, but with this drinking game, you can have even more fun as Gotham crumbles.

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George Clooney

What is Casting Couch? The day’s casting news, all in one place, because you’re a very busy person. At this point we don’t know anything concrete about the secret project Brad Bird is directing over at Disney. It’s largely being developed under the code name 1952, but for a minute it was being called Tesla. It’s rumored to be a science fiction film involving aliens, but in what regard isn’t clear. It’s said that Disney is thinking of it as a major tentpole release, but why it would have such mass appeal is being kept under wraps. All we have is rumors. And the latest rumor for the pile, courtesy of Variety, is that The Facts of Life star George Clooney is currently negotiating to star. If this proves to be true and Bird lands Clooney, that would be a pretty big step toward making this the blockbuster sort of feature that Disney wants it to be. And, generally, what Disney wants, Disney gets.

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Hathaway and Hemsworth

If you’re looking for a movie about cyborgs that has a creative team with a good amount of solid, robot-related sci-fi experience under their belt, then Amped might be the project for you. THR has word that this is going to be the next film for director Alex Proyas, who first captured film fans’ attentions with things like The Crow and Dark City, and later went on to make his robot bones with 2004’s I, Robot. Proyas isn’t the only robot-friendly name with a hand in the creation of this project, either. Amped comes from a Daniel H. Wilson novel of the same name; and if you don’t know who Wilson is, he’s a contributor to “Popular Mechanics” as their “resident roboticist,” and he wrote the novels “How to Survive a Robot Uprising,” “How to Build a Robot Army,” and “Robopocalypse,” which is serving as the source material for Steven Spielberg’s next film. The guy knows his robots. But what, exactly, is the story that Proyas’ eye for sci-fi visuals will be bringing to the big screen? Let’s let the original novel’s Amazon description fill us in:

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Anne Hathaway

After getting off the sinking ship that is NBC’s The Office earlier than most of her co-stars and successfully getting her starring vehicle sitcom The Mindy Project picked up for a full season at Fox, actress and writer Mindy Kaling’s career is looking to be in pretty good shape. But wise moves in the TV landscape may not be the extent of her current success, as it’s now looking like a romantic comedy script Kaling co-wrote is likely to get produced as a feature as well. The film, which Kaling co-wrote with veteran TV writer Brent Forrester, is called The Low Self-Esteem of Lizzie Gillespie, and is reportedly about a girl, who has dated nothing but losers, suddenly getting pursued by the most attractive man in the world. The reason Lizzie Gillespie is likely to soon be put into production is that it just got a big star attached to it in Anne Hathaway. Hathaway, of course, was a big name in the business already, but after playing Catwoman in this year’s The Dark Knight Rises, she’s got to be considered one of the most powerful leading ladies around, and every time a bankable star gets attached to a script, it’s generally only a matter of time before a director signs on and distribution deals come a callin’.

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Anne Hathaway

Not only is the newly semi-untethered Tim Rothman going to produce Steven Spielberg‘s forthcoming Robopocalypse, The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Anne Hathaway is in talks to play the lead role. She’d join Chris Hemsworth who has been in talks to star as well. The film is based on the book by Daniel H. Wilson in which a sentient computer named Archos launches small test attacks against humanity to check for weaknesses before descending into an all-out assault, pitting a small group of survivors and a “freeborn” robot to fight back. It seems likely that Hemsworth and Hathaway will play important figures in the revolt. There’s reasonable excitement with all these names involved (and the straight-ahead genre possibilities), but it’s really fantastic to have Drew Goddard (Cain in the Woods) writing the script. With all the pieces in place, the production is looking to release April 2014.

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Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables

A decent amount of talk has been dedicated to director Tom Hooper‘s decision to have the cast of Les Miserables sing live during takes instead of using the more traditional method of overdubbing. Rightfully so. Though it’s not the first movie to eschew dubbing, it’s the largest scale project to do so completely, and that creates a bit of danger in the form of raw voices. On the other hand, as cast members Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Russell Crowe, Samantha Barks and Eddie Redmayne explain, there’s a freedom that comes with it which allows for them to truly emote through their songs. After a stunning teaser, this look into the method behind the madness proves once again that there’s a lot to hope for with this flick. It looks to be an epic given the proper epic treatment, and the on-set singing aspect, especially, gives it a fascinating edge that will most likely be something far beyond a simple gimmick. If nothing else, this featurette shows plainly the filmmakers’ investment in and dedication to the process. Check it out for yourself:

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