Bobby Cannavale


The Annie mythos — culled from various versions, from an 1885 poem by James Whitcomb Riley to the Harold Gray-crafted syndicated comic strip to the beloved 1977 Broadway musical and its subsequent 1982 film adaptation — has evolved quite spectacularly over the years. Once a character in a poem that is straight up about goblins, Annie is now the adorable, plucky heroine of a feel-good musical about finding your own family (and copious amounts of cash) in the most unexpected of places. Still, the problem with Annie is that, jazzy song-and-dance sequences aside, the story itself is almost too wrenching to be believed. At least, that’s the problem with Will Gluck‘s Annie, which insists on foisting still more troubles on our pint-sized leading lady while also involving a weirdly adult subplot about corporate invasions of privacy. Isn’t being a goddamn orphan bad enough? No, because this orphan has to soft-shoe it through a feature that thinks that illiteracy works wonders as a late-breaking, totally tossed-off issue and that selling kids for cash is the kind of feature the entire family can enjoy this holiday season. Still worse, the musical elements of the film — which is still a musical, no matter how many times its own characters make fun of the genre during the actual course of the feature — are ham-fisted, poorly made and embarrassing.


John Slattery as Howard Stark

For months, the mystery of who would take the reigns from Edgar Wright and direct Ant-Man dominated all coverage of the Marvel flick. But ever since the baton was passed to Peyton Reed, focus has been able to switch back to the good ol’ casting frenzy. Today, Marvel sent out a press release announcing that production has officially started in San Francisco on the much-anticipated film. That in itself is exciting enough news, with Reed also tweeting “LET’S. GET. small.” early this morning. He’s a man with a plan, and it’s on a teensy tiny scale. Good things come in small packages, haven’t you heard? But the press release contained something even more amazing: a barrage of cast members to round out the film’s core ensemble. The new additions are Bobby Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire), Judy Greer (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Michael Pena (End of Watch), Abby Ryder Fortson (Togetherness), David Dastmalchian (Prisoners), Gregg Turkington (The Comedy), Wood Harris (The Wire), rapper T.I. (Identity Thief) and John Slattery (Mad Men).



Jon Favreau seems to be the type of guy who’s pretty into food. No, that wasn’t a fat joke—he who lives in glass houses and whatnot—it’s just an observation coming after he hosted a talk show called Dinner For Five that was based on a crew of interesting people gathering around a table full of food, and now he’s reportedly taking a break from making wildly profitable (when not involving cowboys *and* aliens) blockbuster tentpole pictures in order to put together a little independent project that will see him doing a lot of cooking. The project, according to a scoop that came out of Variety, will see Favreau writing, directing, and starring in a film called Chef, which is said to be a comedy about an emotional chef who runs a Los Angeles-based restaurant.



This season, the most consistently compelling part of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire has been its opening title sequence. (Impossibly cool Steve Buscemi smoking a cigarette on the beach as the clouds morph above him, empty bottles of booze float onto the shore, and Brian Jonestown Massacre’s “Straight Up and Down” plays over the scene—it’s gorgeous.) Humdrum episode after humdrum episode, I’m left asking, “Why am I still watching this show? What kind of unholy power does it have over me?” Boardwalk Empire has never moved at a terribly fast pace. It’s about 1920s bootlegging and all of the politicking and scheming that comes with that, which gives most of the scenes between Atlantic City top dog Nucky Thompson (Buscemi) and his co-conspirators an expository quality—the show revolves around characters brokering shady deals or, as is the case with the current third season, discussing the Volstead Act ad nauseam. But there are also unexpected deaths, unlikely dalliances, and, of course, there’s delightful gangster drama. These flashier story elements in combination with the fact that patience is usually rewarded (sometimes with a character being scalped, other times, simply, with smart writing) make the slow pacing bearable. But we’re now nine episodes into the third season and Michael Shannon’s Nelson Van Alden—one of the most complex, tortured, and surprising characters on the show—is hardly ever present and any time some glimmer of excitement pops up, it’s quickly stomped out.



There are a couple biopics about famed porn actress Linda Lovelace in the works, so let’s not get confused. Lovelace isn’t the one that was supposed to star Lindsay Lohan but then picked up Malin Ackerman because Lindsay Lohan is Lindsay Lohan; that one is the Matthew Wilder-directed Inferno. Lovelace will be directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (Howl), and has Amanda Seyfried replacing the originally-rumored Kate Hudson as the titular performer. I’ve seen these two movies have actors that are appearing in one being attributed to the other or downright get referenced as being the same film before, so I want to be clear. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s look at the casting news. Way back during this project’s humble beginnings, James Franco was rumored as being the choice to play Chuck Traynor, a pornographer and Lovelace’s longtime husband. That probably had something to do with his experience working with the directors in Howl. That bit of casting didn’t work out though, and the role eventually went to the equally-as-sleazy-as-Franco, Peter Sarsgaard (see An Education, yuck). Apparently that wasn’t the last of the Franco on Lovelace rumors, however, because Variety’s Showblitz is now reporting that the actor may be making a cameo in the film as Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. That sounds like the sort of fun, low commitment gig that I could see Franco being into, so I’d say the chances of him appearing in this film are once again good.



“For over 20 years, Jimmy Testagross has lived his childhood dream: being a roadie for his childhood heroes, Blue Oyster Cult. But the band’s Arena-Rock glory days are a distant memory. County fairs and club gigs pay the bills. And Jimmy has become a casualty of these leaner times. With no place to go, no job prospects, and no real skills outside of being a roadie, Jimmy needs to regroup. So he returns to his childhood home in Queens, NY. There, he revisits old relationships: his ailing, widower mom, a high school crush, a former nemesis and, most importantly, his relationship with himself.” I’m not sure about all of you, but they had me at Blue Oyster Cult. Super 8‘s Ron Eldard stars in Roadie as Jimmy, a middle-aged man child, who is featured in this exclusive clip we’ve received. Of course, this clip also involves Bobby Cannavale and Jill Hennessy.


SXSW Win Win

 Director Tom McCarthy is back with his third feature film, following the incredibly well received and reviewed films The Station Agent and The Visitor. I’m ashamed to say I’ve seen neither, but based on reactions from trusted colleagues, I have no doubt they are both great films. Unfortunately, Win Win didn’t bowl me over. It’s a fine film that has a good deal of warmth and charm, but it just doesn’t cross that line from good to great. Mike Flaherty (Paul Giamatti) is a typical family man. He has a nice home, a loving wife, and a few adorable kids. He spends his time working in a private law practice and coaching the local high school wrestling team. But lately the work has gone from steady flow to trickle. The office needs a new furnace, the kids need food and clothes and the mortgage isn’t going anywhere, but the money is starting to dry up. Mike reaches his breaking point, unable to tell his wife Jackie (Amy Ryan) about the financial troubles and admit to what he sees as a failure as the provider, and decides to take advantage of a situation with an elderly client. Leo Poplar (Burt Young) has been deemed incapacitated by the court and despite his strong desire to stay in his own home, he’s going to have to be moved to an assisted living facility. Leo has no family to speak of, only a daughter he hasn’t spoken to or heard from in years. […]



One of the things Sundance is known for is its ability to discover and launch new voices in the world of film. After screening his directorial debut, I can say with conviction that John Krasinski is going to be one of those new and unique voices.

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published: 01.27.2015
published: 01.27.2015
published: 01.27.2015
published: 01.27.2015

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