Blake Lively

Emma Roberts and Jack Kilmer in Palo Alto

There’s a scene in Palo Alto, the new film from writers James Franco and Gia Coppola (also the film’s director), where the gaggle of wealthy, listless teenagers gather for yet another Friday night rager thrown by a nameless jock from their high school. The drunkest of the bunch gather around the kitchen, the girls from the soccer team teetering in their high heels that they think make them look sophisticated as the guys try to inch in closer for a drinking game to make things worse — or “more interesting,” one of the girls in glitter eyeshadow cackles. Our protagonists, the outsiders April (Emma Roberts), Teddy (Jack Kilmer) and Fred (Nate Wolff), ditch the festivities to go hang out in a graveyard and wander their neighborhood like any good weirdos do. It’s an all too familiar flashback to anybody’s high school experience, that intense boredom combined with a need to be something more than just another face at the party, that desire to be anywhere but your small town and a twinge of wanting to be a kid again at the same time. In short, being a teenager sucks, and Palo Alto expresses every miserable moment of it beautifully. But it’s not just good writing and set dressing that creates an accurate high school portrayal on film. By casting actual teenagers (and one very young adult, with Emma Roberts clocking in at age 20 during production) to portray their teen characters, the story was leant an authenticity that just couldn’t be […]

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Savages 2012

It’s tough trying to figure which side of Oliver Stone’s career Savages would fall under. Part of the director’s output is fueled by an angry that’s always unafraid to show people at their ugliest. Then there’s another side, which we’ve seen these past few years, that’s much softer. While Stone’s recent work has been far from the image of a cuddly teddy bear — with the exception of familial scenes peppered throughout Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps — he’s become more empathetic towards his characters and less willing to poke fun at them, which was highlighted best by 2008’s W. Where does Savages fit between those two distinct outlooks? Somewhere comfortably in the middle. Based on Don Winslow‘s novel of the same name, Savages tells the bloody, dramatic, and comical tale of a three-way relationship taking a turn for the worst. The thinker, Ben (Aaron Johnson), and the doer, Chon (Taylor Kitsch), run a business together, providing some of the best weed in California. With business and life going too well, others attempt to cash in on their success, namely Elena, a major drug kingpin who features both genuine charm and ferocity, played by Salma Hayek. When Ben and Chon decline her business proposal, Elena hits them closest to home: their shared lover, O (Blake Lively). To get her back, Ben and Chon wage a small-scale war, attacking both the business and family side of Elena’s life.

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The other day, I labeled Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter as the “wild card” of the summer, and if there’s any other film which comes close to its riskiness (or more so?), it’s Oliver Stone‘s adaptation of Don Winslow‘s book of the same name, Savages. Stone’s pic is an unconventional summer movie: an R-rated, hard-edged movie for adults. Based on what I’ve heard from the positive test-screenings, which led to the film getting bumped up to a summer release, Savages lives up to that riskiness, with Salma Hayek and John Travolta possibly being the two standouts. Now, with over a month until release, some terrific behind-the-scenes pics from the film have been released (via Oliver Stone’s website and the film’s Facebook page). Take a peak of a bloodied up Blake Lively and Benicio Del Toro‘s lovely evil ‘stache after the break:

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Hick Movie 2012 Blake Lively Chloe Moretz

Hick is an ugly piece work. The worst kind of bad. It’s a movie that believes it has something to say, but has nothing – a nothingess that comes after 90 minutes of misery. It’s a vapid mess about a girl who, despite encountering nothing but terrible acts, earns zero sympathy. That girl, Luli (Chloë Moretz), a 13-year-old kid from Nebraska, sets out to Vegas after being abandoned by her loony mother and drunk of a father. Her road trip goes the typical route: violence, rape, drug use, and robbery, everything you’d expect from a 13-year-old’s trip with a wasted Blake Lively. She comes from a world where a gun is a nice birthday gift for a kid, where 13-year-olds awkwardly quote Sunset Boulevard, and where Eddie Redmayne is forced to play a poor man’s take on Kit  from Badlands, all these phony details are used to establish we’re in a dark and heightened world. Or is this intended as our reality? Director Derick Martini can’t answer that, never coming up with the right tone.

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After taking the festival circuit by storm with his 2008 film, Lymelife, director Derick Martini became something of an indie darling. Now he’s back with his latest film, Hick, which tells the tale of a confused young girl running away from her deadbeat parents and learning about life on the road. The main attraction here is that said young girl is being played by Chloe Moretz, an actress who’s shown great potential up to this point, and is just chomping at the bit to get a meaty role to sink her teeth into, so she can really show what she can do. Whether or not Hick is the right platform for her will be a matter of opinion, but, as you can see from its new trailer, the film contains enough dark, dramatic material to give her range a showcase, no matter how you positively or negatively you respond to the absurd and traumatizing things you’ll experience.

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Oliver Stone’s adaptation of the oppressively hip Don Winslow novel Savages’ has been making a lot of waves on FSR today. First we showed you the teaser for the film, something like the trailer for the trailer (a new marketing trend that could get hilariously annoying if it becomes more pervasive), and now we’ve got the the full length trailer for the film; which adds some actual plot description to the loud noises and sexy imagery of the teaser.

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Trailers for trailers are generally underwhelming and don’t give us much information to go off of. This preview for the Savages trailer, which is scheduled to hit online soon, happens to be an exception to the rule. This tease shows the Oliver Stone we haven’t seen since the 90s, an energetic and propulsive Stone. In the vein of Natural Born Killers and the hugely underrated U-Turn, Savages looks to have a fun, dirty, and stylish atmosphere. After a terrific test screening Universal bumped the film up for a summer release, believing it’s got real financial potential. While an Oliver Stone film about young pot dealers clashing with a drug cartel doesn’t scream “box-office smash”, I’ve heard Savages has commercial appeal. I recently spoke to someone who saw the film, and they had plenty of positive things to say, namely about Salma Hayek and John Travolta‘s performances. Apparently if you’re a Stone fan, such as myself, you may see this as a big return to form. Check out the short but stylish teaser below.

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Here we are, once again, talking about Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming thriller about depression and medication, Side Effects. The last time we left our players in this ongoing drama Annapurna Pictures had pulled their funding from the film, reportedly over a kerfuffle about casting. You see, rumor had it that there was some uneasy feelings about Blake Lively playing the lead role in this film, that of a depressed woman who battles addiction and is in the middle of a love triangle involving both her husband and her doctor. Further rumors indicated that there were a whole short-list of actresses that Soderbergh and his people were looking at to replace Lively, and hopefully restore faith in the project. Well, it looks like at least most of those rumors were true. Deadline Bedford is reporting that Lively has been shuffled off the film and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo star Rooney Mara will now be taking her place as the lead. Seeing as Mara just turned a lot of heads playing a dark, troubled woman and Lively hasn’t ever turned too many heads doing anything, this is probably good news for the movie overall.

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Following Steven Soderbergh’s career has been a winding road full of ups and downs as of late. First he was going to make The Man From U.N.C.L.E., then there was a long period of juggling actors on that film as he tried to nail down a cast, then that movie got cancelled completely. There has been talk of retirement, talk of pushing off retirement to do more things, and generally just a lot of confusion. Things seemed to have reached a moment of stability a week ago, though, when it was announced that he was going forward with his next film, a thriller called Side Effects, and that it had funding stemming from a partnership between Annapurna Pictures and Open Road Films. That’s all up in the air now though, and apparently it comes down to the all too familiar casting woes. Variety is now reporting that Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures has pulled out of the deal, leaving Soderbergh and Open Road to find additional funding on their own. Variety gave no reason as to why the deal fell through, but The Playlist is claiming to have sources close to the situation that say Ellison and her people don’t like the casting of Blake Lively in the lead role. She apparently is set to play a drug addict in the middle of a love triangle between her husband (Channing Tatum) and her doctor (Jude Law).

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The production of the upcoming adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. There have been questions about the budget, the schedule, who would end up directing, and perhaps most prominently, who would play the female lead Elizabeth. Pretty much every Hollywood “It” girl you can name has been up for the role, and for whatever reason all of them have ended up turning it down. The production has been through Emma Stone, Mia Wasikowska, Scarlett Johansson, and even Natalie Portman, who has a producer’s credit on the thing but won’t star in it. So, take this news with a grain of salt, but Twitch is reporting that another spin around the casting merry-go-round has landed director Craig Gillespie another candidate for Elizabeth. They say that Gossip Girl star Blake Lively is the new choice, and that an offer has been sent her way.

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As a woman, there are certain things I am expected to always want – chocolate, shoes, bad boys, and more Sex and the City. As a human being with eyes, ears, a heart, and passable taste, there is one thing I will never want – more Sex and the City. The seminal HBO series, based on Candace Bushnell’s book of the same name, ran for six years and ninety-four episodes. It is single-handedly responsible for the unearned fame of a bad cupcake place in the Village, the use of the term “Post-It breakup” in pop culture vernacular, and the predilection of some women to get drunk on pink vodka-based beverages and scream that they are “a Carrie!” or “a Charlotte!” or “a Samantha, hahaha, because I am a skank!” It was a movement, people, its own cultural zeitgeist. It spawned two feature films, the second of which was so poorly received critically that it essentially stopped any and all plans for a third film (if we are lucky enough).

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news and link collection column that is running late, but it’s not sorry about it. Tonight it went to see Cowboys & Aliens, which was a lot of fun. So deal with it. As you know, it is always worth the wait, baby. We begin tonight with the first look at Blake Lively and Chloe Moretz in Hick, which was released as part of the Toronto International Film Festival laying down its Gala and Special Presentation line-up. Lively is a drifter, Moretz is a runaway and in this scene, they’re moving quickly away from something. Perhaps its Lively’s cinematic career thus far. Someone should tell her there’s no escaping that wooden performance in Green Lantern.

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We live in a movie-making world where performance doesn’t matter nearly as much as it used to. The audience as judge and jury is an outdated concept, and if you’re movie doesn’t earn its money back, that doesn’t mean the funeral pyre needs to be erected. Green Lantern wasn’t exactly dead as a doornail when it hit the box office – it just didn’t shoot up through the stratosphere the way Warners undoubtedly hoped it would. Now, The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that the studio wants to move forward with the franchise even while admitting their disappointment.

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So much potential and so much promise… and yet so much blandness. I had been trying to stay as hopeful as one could when it came to Green Lantern. Even after Neil – who I usually think is spot on when it comes to his criticisms – posted his review, I still held on to what little optimism I could maintain. “Perhaps Green Lantern would be this summer’s G.I. Joe, a film that is so cartoonish that you just can’t help but to laugh with it,” I thought. But, boy, was I wrong. Green Lantern is no laughing matter. Green Lantern + The guy who reinvented Bond twice + Reynolds’ mojo + Great Sarsgaard + Potential for Space Battles + Mark Strong as Sinestro = what should’ve been a real event film. Wha happened?

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As Kermit the Frog once famously said, it ain’t easy being green. The same could be said for modern superhero films and comic book adaptations. It seems a daunting task when you really think about it, the notion that you’re entering into one of cinema’s most expensive endeavors, yearning to please its most incredulous audience while trying to carry the mainstreamers along as well. In some instances, as is the case with Green Lantern, you’re task is to bring a wide audience up to speed on a complex, rich and intensely alien mythology. It ain’t easy. So as an audience, when we see a film like Green Lantern, one that does so much of the most difficult stuff right, but gets almost all the easy stuff wrong, it can be the most entertainingly frustrating experiences of our summer. The whole thing smacks of 2006, when a passionate superhero auteur named Bryan Singer gave the world a lavish, modern version of the Man of Steel in Superman Returns. The things he got right in his pursuit of faith and glossy nostalgia were dazzling. The visual effects were seamless, the world’s hardest working alien was truly spectacular in flight and feat. But when it came down to the most basic elements of storytelling, the parts where we get to human emotions like love and longing, all the personality of a once dynamic character appears to have been sucked out by a cosmic force. Left in its wake was emptiness. Green Lantern suffers, […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr dresses up in green and black spandex and parades around town telling people that he is a superhero who can create anything out of sheer will. Of course, it seems that the only thing he’s able to create is an ever-growing arrest report. Later, Kevin takes a trip to his local zoo where he sneaks into the penguin habitat in order to forge a bond with these flightless birds. Unfortunately, the penguins don’t take too well to him and peck him to near death, leaving Kevin to skulk away to the local movie theater in order to catch a double feature of Green Lantern and Mr. Popper’s Penguins.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, Movies.com‘s John Gholson offers a primer before we all go see Green Lantern, and lead creature designer for the film (and Super 8, Avatar, and many others…) Neville Page talks about creating aliens. Plus, our very own Matt Patches faces off against UGO‘s movies editor Jordan Hoffman in a Movie News Pop Quiz that’ll be one for the books. We follow it up with a Green Lantern review, so stick around. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a movie news round-up column that comes to you from deep space. It comes as a protector of all that is good and interesting in the movie news world. It also totally swoons over Michael Fassbender. Seriously, have you seen this guy act? He’s the man… man. As my good friend Rusty Gordon pointed out to me this evening, “this summer is already better than last summer,” and it’s just now June. With two-thirds of its movie releasing to go, Summer 2011 is already coming along great. With that, there’s plenty to still be excited about. Like Green Lantern, which continues to look cool as WB dumps a giant batch of photos on the web. So much detail, so much cool.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly thing about movie stuff. Tonight’s edition features mini-ninjas, talk about naked pictures of Blake Lively, Sly Stallone set to music, an explanation of who Jane Lynch is, a joke about Michael Bay, an even less funny joke about Blake Lively and a profile of Richard Ayoade. That and more, we assure you. Above you will see something I never thought we’d lead with in a Movie News After Dark entry: someone’s grave stone. But there it is, the resting place of actor Leslie Nielsen. Modest, simple and complete with one last fart joke for the road. Nielsen may not have lasted forever, but his penchant for the fart joke will forever stay in our hearts.

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It was a month ago that I first heard about Oliver Stone directing an adaptation of the Don Winslow Novel “Savages.” A couple of the key male roles had been cast, but Jennifer Lawrence was out as the female protagonist, O, due to her involvement in The Hunger Games. Now Stone and company seem to have found their new choice to play O, and they’ve filled out a couple of the other key roles as well. The three main characters of the film are Chon, Ben, and O, two dudes and a chick who start a successful grow operation and find themselves running afoul of a dangerous Mexican drug cartel. When we last saw Savages it had already cast Taylor Kitsch as the ex Navy SEAL Chon, Aaron Johnson as the botany expert Ben, and Salma Hayek as the head of the cartel Elena. This time Deadline Laguna reports that not only has Gossip Girl star Blake Lively been chosen to play O, but also a few big names have been approached to join the cast as well.

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published: 12.23.2014
B+
published: 12.22.2014
C-
published: 12.19.2014
A-


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