Chris Cooper

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In case you were worrying that Marc Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man sequel didn’t have enough of Spidey’s villains rumored to be appearing in it, Heat Vision now has a report confirming that the film is going to, in some way, feature the Wall-Crawler’s most hated villain of all time, unhinged industrialist Norman Osborn. According to the report, Chris Cooper (of American Beauty, Adaptation, and The Muppets fame) has signed on to play the role. For those who have even glanced at a “Spider-Man” comic over the last fifty years or have seen Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films, where this same character was played by Willem Dafoe, you know that Osborn starts off as a generic rich jerk, but eventually he experiences an accident that leaves him completely insane and with a split personality who refers to himself as The Green Goblin.

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Robert Redford in The Company You Keep

Just last week we reported that Robert Redford’s latest film, The Company You Keep, managed to score a distribution deal before it even played any festivals. Well, the film is gearing up to play Venice and Toronto regardless, so TIFF has released a trailer promoting it. Complete with typewriter sounds and vintage news footage, said trailer starts off by making The Company You Keep look like it’s going to be an authentic, journalistic look at the history of the radical anti-war group The Weather Underground, but then we’re suddenly dumped into present day, and it’s revealed that this is actually going to be a fun-looking chase movie about the last few members of the movement still being on the run from the law. The Company You Keep is full of grizzled old activists/bank robbers, plucky young reporters, plucky young F.B.I. agents, action, intrigue, murder, and a cast that features names like Redford, Susan Sarandon, Shia LaBeouf, Brendan Gleeson, Anna Kendrick, Terrence Howard, Nick Nolte, Sam Elliott, Richard Jenkins, Chris Cooper, Brit Marling, Julie Christie, Stephen Root, and Stanley Tucci.

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Robert Redford in The Company You Keep

The latest directorial effort from screen legend Robert Redford, The Company You Keep, was all set to make a big splash and impress distributors at the upcoming deal-making feeding grounds that are the Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals, but a new development is making it look like the film’s screenings at those fests are going to come off as something of an afterthought. If you’ve got a used car that you need to get rid of, or maybe some old exercise equipment lying around that you’ve been thinking of putting on eBay, then maybe you should think of having Redford write the ad copy for you, because it seems that he’s something of a salesman. THR is reporting that the director, along with his fellow producers Nicolas Chartier and Bill Holderman, have already struck a deal with Sony Pictures Classics to handle all U.S. distributions rights for the film. Based on a book by Neil Gordon, The Company You Keep stars Redford himself as a former Weather Underground militant, wanted for bank robbery and murder, who gets exposed decades after his crimes by a meddling young reporter (as played by Shia LaBeouf).

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Good luck untangling the twisted mess that is the family tree at the center of Tracy Letts‘ soon-to-be-adapted play, August: Osage County. Of course, that’s all part of the story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning production, but it makes confirming casting notices for John Wells‘ film version a real beast. Letts’ play centers on the Weston family, led by patriarch Beverly Weston and his sick, pill-popping wife Violet. Set during the month of August in the Weston’s hometown of Pawhuska, Oklahoma, the play opens with a prologue that features Beverly as he attempts to hire a nurse for his, for lack of a better word, cracked out wife (to be played by Meryl Streep). While that introduction might make it seem as if it’s Violet who will soon wither, Act One hits us with the hard truth – Beverly has committed suicide, leaving Violet alone to deal with his death and the rest of their family. They are not a happy family. And they have much bigger issues to deal with than just one measly suicide. Most of the conflict of August: Osage County is between the various Weston women – especially between Violet and her eldest daughter, Barbara Fordham (Julia Roberts) – but there are two other Weston girls to cast, and it’s now been revealed that rising star Andrea Riseborough will be one of them.

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As we all sit here at Reject HQ, gathered around an absurdly long, but incredibly imposing, table discussing what to do with the nuclear missiles we just “creatively appropriated” from a breakaway Russian republic, it occurs to us that 2011 was a great year to be bad. For every boring, dopey, goody-good hero that popped up on the silver screen, there was a brilliant, super cool, woefully misunderstood villain doing everything he/she/it could to thwart the zero hero at every turn. So when Supreme Commander #1, better known to the world (and those pesky Avengers so they’ll stop blasting our lair) as Neil Miller, issued an official order (delivered by a specially-trained, fire-breathing, gun-toting alligator who lives in the moat) to construct a supersonic death ray…that assignment went to Kate “Femme Fatale” Erbland. But then I got asked to do this list of the 20 Best Villains of 2011, a decided promotion from my usual position as sinister cocktail-fetcher and cleaner of the diabolical gutters.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr gets his grading done early because school is off for the rest of the week. With three family movies opening in theaters for the Thanksgiving weekend, Kevin tries to keep things respectable. Reliving his childhood, he sings and dances his way into the theater for the revival of The Muppets, then takes a serious look at 3D and avant-garde filmmaking with Martin Scorsese’s latest film Hugo. Finally, he bundles up and heads to the North Pole on a search for Santa and his family, knowing it has to be exactly like it is depicted in Arthur Christmas. Movies don’t lie, after all, do they?

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Super-producer Scott Rudin has been trying to get Jonathan Franzen’s much-lauded novel, “The Corrections,” to the screen for nearly a decade, and it’s finally starting to come together, though possibly in a different format than fans of the book may have first expected. Rudin has been working with Noah Baumbach on adapting the novel for the small screen, in the form of an HBO series. Though the exact specifications of the series’ format is not yet known (episode length, frequency, if the series will run in a limited capacity for a set number of episodes, who else would direct episodes), the cast is steadily rounding out. The book focuses on the Lambert family, and Chris Cooper and Dianne Wiest were previously announced to play the parents at the center, Alfred and Enid Lambert. But what of their wayward children? Deadline Wickenburg is reporting that Ewan McGregor is on board to play middle child Chip, “a Marxist academic who lost his tenure-track position over an affair with a student and now works for a Lithuanian crime boss defrauding American investors.” Wait, does that sound messed up and weird? Yeah, meet the Lamberts – a severely dysfunctional American family of five. The Corrections slides back and forth through time periods and is told through the voices of different members of the family (Albert, Enid, Chip, and the other two kids, Gary and Denise). While it’s not immediately clear just what went so wrong within and for the family, the novel gradually unveils […]

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For his 17th feature film, writer/director John Sayles performs one of his periodic 180 degree shifts. Throughout his 33-year directing career, the gifted chronicler of the histories and familial legacies of small-town Americana (in films such as Lone Star and Honeydripper) has occasionally ventured outside that comfort zone. The Irish-set Secret of Roan Inish and the Spanish language, Latin American-set Men with Guns are among Sayles’s best-reviewed works. In Amigo, his most ambitious film yet, the filmmaker heads to the Philippines, circa 1900, for an old-fashioned yet all-too-resonant portrait of U.S. imperialism run amok. There’s an aesthetic stiffness to certain elements of Sayles’s picture, which concerns the drama that plays out in a fictional village during the Philippine-American war. The camerawork is stately and largely of the front-and-center medium shot variety, while the limited, spare jungle setting exudes a sort of abstract theatricality. It’s not always the most vibrant enterprise as it charts the ups-and-(mostly) downs of the American occupation of that village. The cross-cutting between the activities of the soldiers and the Filipino rebels is at times rather heavy-handed, following a pattern that appears to have been determined by Sayles’s desire to give them equal air time, so to speak, rather than the natural flow of the narrative.

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It’s been a year since the Sundance debut of John Wells‘ directorial debut, The Company Men. Films like these are a rare breed. It’s not only a small type of film (despite its star power) that is more than difficult to get off the ground nowadays, but it’s also tackling a timely and difficult topic. Who wants to go see a film about job loss in this climate? Well, that’s a hurdle and a question Wells overcame. Even with the hopeful and upbeat outlook of Wells’ first feature film, it’s sure to be a hard sell for some audiences. Yes, Up in the Air tackled a similar matter and ended up doing gangbuster business, but that also had George Clooney‘s wit and charms at the center of it to make it an easy sell. This isn’t a film with irresistibly likable leads, but instead follows genuinely believable modern day workers. Hopefully, as I’m sure the extremely friendly and well-spoken director hopes as well, more than a few people will look past its downer concept.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr trolls around hospitals looking for a scorching hot young doctor who doesn’t want a real relationship but would rather have someone she can have copious amounts of sex with many times throughout the week. Upon returning from that fantasy land, he heads to a job-placement agency to rub elbows with laid-off corporate executives who have trouble making ends meet so they can pay the lease on their Mercedes. Kevin is handing out grades for No Strings Attached and The Company Men, and the grades are not good.

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One of the best films of 2007 was Gone Baby Gone, a mystery/drama set in a Boston neighborhood that focused on a detective couple tasked with finding the truth behind a little girl’s disappearance. It’s a fantastic movie in almost every way from the story to the acting, from the direction to the way it challenges the viewer to think about the costs of our convictions. Occasionally lost amongst the praise is the fact that the film is the directorial debut of Ben Affleck. Fans cheered his new found success behind the camera, detractors begrudgingly credited everyone but Affleck, and the majority of the movie-going public ignored it all together. (Seriously, if you haven’t seen it yet go rent it now.) Three years later Affleck has returned to the director’s chair with The Town. He’s also returned to the crime-ridden streets of Boston in this tale of a group of friends who moonlight as bank robbers. It’s not the weighty and complex success Gone Baby Gone was, in fact it’s fairly generic and basic in its structure, but Affleck and friends still manage to deliver one of the most exciting and satisfying thrillers to hit screens this year.

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Kevin Carr sits his chubbiness down weighs in on Green Zone, Remember Me and She’s Out of My League.

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Fat Guys at the Movies

Some sound gremlins invade the Magical Studio in the Sky as Neil prepares for drinking and partying at SXSW. Neil is also recovering from a bout with food poisoning while Kevin is recovering from seeing Robert Pattinson’s Remember Me (and Kevin insists he suffered more).

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I’ve already heard several folks here in Park City draw lines between John Wells’ recession drama The Company Men and Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air. That’s not exactly true. But it also isn’t a bad thing.

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After seeing Twilight: New Moon last night at a press screening, I was unsure about many things. But of the things that I was sure about, one was that Robert Pattinson was not a good actor. Maybe I was wrong. Or… maybe not.

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Where the Wild Things Are is beautiful, successful in its task, and moving. But you might not like it. It’s darker than it is whimsical, sadder than it is sweet.

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I loved Where The Wild Things Are. It’s a reminder that life as a kid is magical and difficult, so I’ve pinpointed seven reasons why I personally fell in love with this film.

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At this point we can’t even wrap our minds around the concept of not being excited about Spike Jonze’s adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are. Therefore, we are super jazzed over these new photos.

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This is still, in my opinion, the best action film of the year. It’s an intense, riveting cinematic experience I won’t soon forget.

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