Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper in The A-Team

Although Bradley Cooper was not physically onscreen during this summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy as the feisty and volatile Rocket Raccoon, his role voicing the smallest defender of the universe put him squarely on the path to becoming a bonafide action star. That raccoon knew what he was doing around a ray gun. And no, starring in the 2010 reboot of The A-Team definitely does not count. Cooper has never been an actor who has sat idly in his roles, picking parts that run the gamut from comedy, to romance, to drama and satire; it’s a natural progression that transforming into an action star would be next. Warner Bros. has a plan, acquiring the book rights to Mack Bolan, a character created by Don Pendleton, to create a starring vehicle for Cooper. The author chronicled Bolan in 37 novels often referred to as “The Mafia Wars,” but ghostwriters kept him alive in hundred of other serializations over the years. Bolan is a tough as nails anti-terrorist operative who is all-American and bleeds red, white and blue. He’s often in extremely sticky situations, but pulls himself out unscathed — usually with a new romantic conquest at his side at the end of the adventure. Think along the lines if James Bond were from Massachusetts and served as a Green Beret.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Obscene Gesture

At the start of Guardians of the Galaxy, “A Film By James Gunn” flashes on the screen, and that’s exactly what we get. For a big Marvel movie under the Disney banner, this isn’t the kind of story we expect to see from them, so when the end credits roll, Gunn’s name seems to shine brighter than the audience-magnet brand and the internationally beloved corporate entity above them both. His style survived the blockbuster process. Of course, once you know the director behind Super and Slither made Marvel’s latest, it’s not much of a surprise. The drama is unexpectedly sincere, while the jokes are wonderfully dirty — a tonal blend he can’t get enough of — while staying strangely innocent in the face of serving a story about lovable misfits finding a higher purpose. There’s no mean-spirited marrow in the movie’s funny bone. Gunn has managed to top the comedy done by the likes of Joss Whedon, Shane Black and Jon Favreau in past Marvel movies, so when we spoke with him recently, we asked him how he’d pulled it off.

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Walt Disney Studios

Earth, 1988, and a young boy named Peter is watching his mother die. As her final breath passes her lips he runs out of the hospital and collapses on the fog-shrouded lawn… at which point a spaceship appears, sucks him in and streaks off to who knows where. 26 years later we’re introduced to the now adult Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) who prefers people call him by his much cooler moniker — Star Lord. Quill is a roguish adventurer — think a half-assed Indiana Jones or an insecure Han Solo — who makes a living acquiring things for people willing to pay for said things, but his latest attempted theft lands him in prison alongside a quartet of equally morally-suspect individuals including a fierce female warrior, an even fiercer male warrior, a verbally-challenged tree and a genetically-modified raccoon. The group soon realizes that the item holds a highly destructive power and that they may be the only ones capable of stopping it from falling into the hands of an intergalactic madman bent on doing the kinds of crazy shit madmen typically do. If Serenity and Ice Pirates spent a drunken night of debauchery together without using protection, the result would be something like Marvel’s latest (and least Marvel-like) feature, Guardians of the Galaxy. To be clear, that’s a good thing. Hell, that’s a great thing as the resulting film is a vibrantly exciting, immensely entertaining and frequently hilarious sci-fi adventure.

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Universal Pictures

This weekend, Luc Besson’s Lucy topped the box office with more success than expected. You might say that the film performed above its potential. Coincidentally, the film is about a woman (Scarlett Johansson) who, through an unexpected side effect of being a drug mule, was able to access the full potential of her brain. This led her to various super powers, including being a genius in mathematical calculations, having the ability to diagnose medical conditions by hugging someone and controlling radio waves with her mind. The film rests on the belief that human beings only use about 10 percent of their brain’s full potential, and the drugs that leaked into Lucy’s system helped unlock the other 90 percent. It’s not the first time this theory has been brought to the silver screen. Bradley Cooper got similar powers in the 2011 film Limitless. Both the 90s cheese-fest The Lawnmower Man and the more down-to-earth 70s drama Charley feature similar ideas. Even the character of Sherlock Holmes, seen in everything from classic Basil Rathbone films to Benedict Cumberbatch and his “mind palace” in the BBC’s Sherlock, have found a way to access seemingly limitless and unnatural brain power. This got me thinking. We might never be able to look like Scarlett Johansson or Bradley Cooper, but could we think like their characters on screen? What extraordinary things could we achieve if we tapped into our brains’ “full potential”?

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The Guardians of the Galaxy

What’s the best movie trailer you’ve seen so far this year? More specifically, of all the summer movies coming out in 2014, which of them has had the best trailer? Other than the first full length trailer for Luc Besson’s mind-bending actioner Lucy, I can’t think of any trailer more striking than whatever latest preview Marvel has released for Guardians of the Galaxy. And we all thought this one would be Marvel’s toughest sell to date, as it explores areas of the cosmos yet unexplored in the path in and out of The Avengers. How it all plays out with general audiences remains to be seen, but one thing remains abundantly true as this latest extended trailer hits the Internet: this movie is like nerd Fruity Pebbles. Colorful, delicious, sugar-filled, a little strange and when it’s over we’re going to need a nap.

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Bradley Cooper in The A-Team

According to Latino-Review, Bradley Cooper is at the top of the list to replace Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. Per their spot-on context, he’d be the George Lazenby to Sean Connery’s James Bond. This is hardcore rumor status, but it raises an important, inevitable question: will you accept seeing someone who isn’t Ford, claiming to be Indiana Jones on screen? The Lazenby comparison is apt (although any actor taking the whip would prefer Roger Moore as the model…) because both Connery and Ford thoroughly defined those characters in a way that makes it extremely difficult for a new actor to realize. It’s likely that a new incarnation — regardless of the actor — would be seen as a pretender. The parallels continue since Connery was replaced while still active. That would also be the case if Harrison Ford is replaced, even though it’s far easier to argue that Ford is more past his prime for running away from blowguns than Connery was (especially since Connery returned to the role almost immediately after giving it up). To that point, there’s still a chance that Indiana Jones 5 could happen with Ford as Indy, and it’s probably one of the most emotionally conflicting possibilities. As quick as any of us are to bow down, there’s also a palpable feeling that Old Ford would be replacing Young Ford and not necessarily doing it gracefully (see: Crystal Skull + 7 years). That raises the true question here: is it better to have more adventures with Indy even if […]

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Oscar Predictions 2014: Supporting Actor

The Best Supporting Actor category at this year’s Academy Awards is a tough race, because there isn’t a single nominee who doesn’t deserve to be there. All five men brought vastly different roles to the table, and it’s clear that they’re playing to win. But couldn’t the Academy have, just for a minute, thought to consider that shit and nominate James Franco for Spring Breakers? Franco’s controversial role as Alien in the equally controversial Harmony Korine film was divisive to say the least, but it’s his strongest to date. Plus, wouldn’t it have been wonderful to see that Oscar campaign go on just a little bit longer? Daydreams of what might have been aside, the talent that made the cut is tremendous. Keep reading for a look at all five nominees for Best Supporting Actor along with my predicted winner in red…

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jonah hill wolf of wall street

If there’s one thing I’ll feel is missing in tonight’s Golden Globes ceremony (even more than an award for best documentary), it’s Jonah Hill‘s name in the supporting actor category. I’ve still not seen a few of the movies represented in that group so I can’t say Hill deserves it more than those nominees, but he is my pick for the best supporting actor of last year and he certainly belongs in the bunch more than Bradley Cooper. The question is whether Hill might earn an Oscar nomination in place of Cooper, or perhaps they’d both be excluded in place of, say, James Gandolfini. Both Cooper and Hill are actors who started out in comedy who have been recognized once each for their moves into dramatic work and who now are basically back with comedic performances in contention for the Academy Award. And that’s a tough nut to crack. Comedy has always been a tough nut with the Oscars in general. It’s not ignored, not at all, definitely not as much as some would think, but it is true that what slips through is mostly hybrid movies, dramas with a good helping of comedy or drier comedies that have some dramatic elements. More common, actually, is comedic performances, especially in the supporting acting categories. That’s where we tend to find traditionally comedic talents earning nominations and often awards for providing the comic relief in a drama. Think Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost, Octavia Spencer in The Help and Alan Arkin in […]

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2013review_performances

Christian Bale, Sanda Bullock, Joaquin Phoenix, Oscar Isaac, Tom Hanks, Robert Redford, Michael Fassbender, and Meryl Steep, because she’s Meryl Streep, have all had heaps of praise thrown their way this year by both fans and critics. They’ll continue to see even more acclaim in 2014 and beyond, but with all those fantastic movie star performances, not all of 2013’s best have gotten the attention they deserve. That happens most every year, of course. Only so many performances can be nominated for statuettes. After all, even after listing these 13, another 13 could have easily followed (it was a good year). In that spirit, hopefully you’ll share your picks in the comments section, but for now, here are 13 performances from 2013 not to forget when someone else is being played off stage for making their acceptance speech too long.

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review american hustle

It’s 1978 in New York City, and Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) is working hard to perfect the mother of all comb-overs. It’s an elaborate and time-intensive endeavor, but if he’s going to do it he wants it done right. He treats his businesses the same way, both the dry cleaning front and the illegal scams he runs on the side, and he’s a success because he works hard, does the job right, and never gets greedy. Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), his partner both in crime and in the bedroom, is a fan of v-necks and faux British accents, but she’s not too hot on Rosenfeld’s wife, Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence). Trouble arises in the tightly-coiffed form of F.B.I. agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) who busts one half of the criminal duo with the intention of coercing them into helping him take down some far bigger fish. Target number one is the easily corruptible Mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) from the nearby New Jersey shore, but as DiMaso’s eyes grow at the thought of nabbing even higher profile targets the entire operation threatens to spiral out of control. It doesn’t bode well for Irving’s tenuously-constructed combover either.

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american hustle poster bradley cooper

During the production of David O. Russell‘s American Hustle, the public was been concerned with one thing, and one thing only: Bradley Cooper‘s perm. And rightfully so. Though the trailer and some stills have shown it off in context of the film, new character sheets are letting us get a look at the thing up close and personal, along with rest of the cast in all their seventies glory. American Hustle focuses on the infamous ABSCAM operation, in which a con artist (Christian Bale) and his mistress/partner in the scam (Amy Adams) are forced to team up with a federal agent (Cooper) to catch other criminals. But because this is the seventies, there is a whole lot of debauchery and side-boob going on to distract them from their goals.

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monsters unleashed 01

Two news items from the past week have me recalling a movie from nearly a decade ago: Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. There was the announcement by Warner Bros. of a new animated feature based on the classic cartoon franchise, which is the obvious source of my considering Raja Gosnell’s live-action adaptations. Then there was the continued coverage of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, particularly the voice casting for its CG characters. That comic book movie is being helmed by James Gunn, who scripted both 2002’s Scooby-Doo and the 2004 sequel. I remember enjoying the latter a lot when it hit theaters, surprised that it was so much better than the misguided original and even more surprised that it was actually received worse by critics. But could I defend Monsters Unleashed today? I revisited the movie this week in the hopes of doing so, but I don’t think I can. And this isn’t some case of where my love for something as a kid turns out to be terrible after all. That’s reserved for Howard the Duck (which I still love anyway). I saw Scooby-Doo 2 in my mid-20s. No, I wasn’t high. Perhaps I was simply relieved the movie was so tied back to the initial series, Scooby Doo: Where Are You?, with its call-back of ghosts and villains, and that it was an improvement over the first movie, which had had the balls to turn Scrappy Doo into a bad guy (and featured Sugar Ray — blech). Somehow that […]

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Rocket Raccoon

We reported last week that Bradley Cooper had entered into negotiations for the part of Rocket Raccoon in James Gunn‘s Guardians of the Galaxy. But for anyone waiting on the results with baited breath, hoping and praying that Cooper would sign on for the part, here’s some good news (or, if you’re not a Cooper fan, horrific news)- Marvel has just offered official confirmation that Cooper will be playing the walking, talking rodent in next summer’s superheroes-in-space epic. Count me among the cautiously optimistic. Before Silver Linings Playbook, I’d be among those clamoring for a quick recast, arguing that the only thing worse than Cooper as Rocket would be having the guy from Phantoms play Batman (and we all know that’ll never happen in a million years). But then Silver Linings happened, and Cooper knocked it out of the park as a man struggling with mental illness. Kevin Feige has described Rocket as a “genetically and mechanically altered… experiment,” while Gunn called him “the heart of the movie.” If Cooper can pull off something even remotely close to what he did with Silver Linings, then Guardians might be something truly special. Although it’s also got Vin Diesel as a walking, talking tree. So I guess it was already special. Guardians of the Galaxy will be in theaters August 1, 2014.

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raccoon

The fact that Marvel was passing over some of its better known properties to do a Guardians of the Galaxy movie during Phase II of the building of their cinematic universe always looked like a head-scratcher. The Guardians of the Galaxy isn’t just an obscure property, it’s a weird, obscure property. To Marvel’s credit though, they seem to have completely embraced the weirdness of this motley crew of space assholes and look to be intent on giving us an uncompromised version of them on the big screen. First, they hired the maker of some of the weirdest genre films we’ve gotten over the past few years, James Gunn, to come on and direct the film. Then they scoured the Earth for the exact right mix of sitcom actors, professional wrestlers, current big names, and surprising screen legends to make up its ensemble. The casting process on this film has seemed to take forever, but Gunn and his people knew that they were making an outside the box movie that would take some outside the box thinking, so they made the effort to make sure they had the perfect actor to get each character right, no matter what background that performer might have come from. One particular role has been left sitting, unfilled, all this time though. It’s the one casting we were most interested in hearing about when this movie was first announced, and it’s the one casting we still haven’t got any confirmation on. There have been rumors, whispers […]

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news eastwood sniper

It’s been about two weeks since Steven Spielberg dropped out of American Sniper, the upcoming biopic that will star Bradley Cooper as Navy Seal Chris Kyle. Apparently, two weeks is just enough time to line up another hugely popular director- as reported by Twitchfilm, Clint Eastwood is in talks to become Spielberg’s replacement. For Eastwood, this is a pretty big ego boost since he’s apparently the next best thing when Mr. Spielberg is unavailable. For the movie-going public, this news is slightly less terrific. Eastwood’s got a masterful eye for direction, but that masterful eye has been conspicuously absent for his last few pictures- J. Edgar, Hereafter and Invictus all fall somewhere within the ‘mediocre’ category. Perhaps American Sniper will see the actor-turned-director hitting Unforgiven-level heights (or at least Gran Torino-sized ones).

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The A-Team

Ever since The Hangover became a smash hit, Bradley Cooper has been a busy guy. So much so that he’s often rumored to be starring in far more movies than he’d ever actually be able to fit in his schedule. One rumor seems to keep hanging around though—that’s he’s going to star in a biopic of famed and then shamed cycling legend Lance Armstrong. Originally the rumor was that he could star in a project that JJ Abrams and his people were putting together based on Juliet Macur’s book, “Cycle of Lies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong,” but even though that project is still in some stage of development, and even though there’s yet another Armstrong biopic being put together over at Working Title that’s set to star Ben Foster, the new news about Cooper possibly taking on the role comes in the form of a third biopic that’s now said to be in development as well. It’s official: we’re knee deep in Lance Armstrong.

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American Hustle

Yesterday gave us our first glimpse at the sweet ‘dos of David O. Russell‘s latest film – American Hustle. Today, we have the opportunity to witness all that greased-hair goodness in motion, and I strongly implore you to take that opportunity. Those who hit “play” on this trailer without knowing what American Hustle is about probably won’t know that much more by the trailer’s end. So here’s the scoop – Hustle is a fictional account of the ABSCAM sting operation from the ’70s-’80s, wherein the FBI and a con artist (Christian Bale) team up to take down both thieves and corrupt public officials. But if the trailer didn’t want us to know that, then it’s probably not super important right now. What is important is the performances, the style, the haircuts, the costumes and the music (which tells us everything we need to know – there will be both good times and bad times). And there’s plenty of goodness within that series of flashing images. Be on the lookout for a menacing Jennifer Lawrence, Bale playing a butt like a bongo drum, and a Quentin Tarantino-style trunk shot. There are also a few peeks at the juicier bits – guns and weeping and a bag-over-the-head-style kidnapping. American Hustle is definitely one to keep your eye on. Check out the first trailer after the break.

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American Hustle

The past three years have been very kind to David O. Russell. The director is responsible for 2010’s The Fighter and 2012’s Silver Linings Playbook, so naturally he’s stepping back into the game with a new film that combines the very best forces from both movies to contend this award season. American Hustle is set in the 1970s and ’80s in New York, which is ever-evident from this new batch of  stills, released by USA Today. The film centers on the FBI’s Abscam sting operation and will deal with government agents and conmen on both sides of the affair. Let’s talk about that perm. Bradley Cooper, who plays an “unhinged FBI agent” has a head full of curls that is just truly terrible, but the beard almost makes up for it. Almost. According to USA Today, the hairstyle was popular among ’70s professional baseball players, but that really doesn’t make it okay. Christian Bale as the greasiest Bronx conman there ever was serves up some fantastic crumpled suits in that orange-brown-putrid green color combination you just never see outside any other decade. I think those aviators paired with the combover are a nice touch, but who am I to judge? Check out one more still, after the break.

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Hangover Part 3

Summarizing the plot of a movie like Hangover 3 is a little pointless. Let’s face it, the plot is pretty much here just to get us from one joke to the next and to throw in some hijinks along the way. So Alan’s (Zach Galifianakis) been off his meds for six months, which causes typical Alan behavior which leads to the death of his father due to a stress-induced heart attack. The Wolfpack is called in to help stage an intervention, and Alan agrees to go to rehab in Arizona if Doug (Justin Bartha), Phil (Bradley Cooper) and Stu (Ed Helms) will drive him there. On the way, they’re kidnapped by a kingpin named Marshall (John Goodman) who’s looking for a fresh-from-escaping-Thai-prison Chow (Ken Jeong). Marshall keeps Doug (of course) and sets Alan, Phil and Stu free to find Chow and bring him back to swap him for Doug. That’s pretty much the gist of it. If it sounds familiar that’s because these films have never made it huge point to stray from the formula. The second entry is nearly a carbon copy of the first, but while this one goes slightly farther off the reservation, poor Doug is still missing for much of the film and they’re chasing Chow yet again. If you loved the first two, don’t worry, you’ll feel right at home with number three.

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LilyCollins

What is Casting Couch? An attempt at keeping you in the loop regarding all of your favorite actors’ careers. Today we’ve got new jobs for lovely ladies Emilia Clarke and Alison Brie as well as lovable lads Daniel Radcliffe and Logan Lerman. The pre-production history of the film adaptation of author Seth Grahame Smith’s “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” is a long and troubled one. To the point where you basically wish Regina George could tell Hollywood to stop trying to make the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies thing happen. But, alas, it looks like the movie has emerged from development hell into development purgatory once again. Variety is reporting that this time around they’ve attached Lily Collins to star as the Elizabeth Bennet character, with Charlie St. Cloud helmer Burr Steers apparently on board to direct. Here we go again…

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