Christina Hendricks

Lost River Movie

As an Oscar-nominated A-lister, Ryan Gosling pretty much had carte blanche to make anything he wanted for his first feature, and for all its flaws, Lost River has a go-for-broke swagger about it as the writer/director cobbles together an ode to some of his favorite filmmakers. The works of Nicolas Winding Refn (whose Drive and Only God Forgives he previously starred in), Gaspar Noé and David Lynch all inevitably come to mind over the course of his grimy urban fable, and silly though the story may be, there’s little denying the florid style on display. Set in a never-dingier Detroit, River tracks Bones (Gosling lookalike Iain De Caestecker) as he scours the abandoned homes in his neighborhood for copper to strip and sell, occasionally running afoul of the tyrannical Bully (Matt Smith, mostly loud) in his efforts to help single mom Billy (Christina Hendricks) support him and his brother. It’s not enough, though, and before long, Billy has reluctantly accepted an offer from loan officer/nightclub owner Dave (Ben Mendelsohn, supremely creepy) to work in his bloody burlesque.

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IFC Films

In one sense, it hurts to consider God’s Pocket in the wake of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s tragic death. The movie offers another sobering reminder of the enormous talent we lost in February, starkly portraying Hoffman’s unparalleled gift for empathizing with everyman characters and their problems. At the same time, this can be a cathartic experience, a chance to continue reclaiming Hoffman’s story from the sordid headlines that accompanied his death while appreciating a master at work for one of the final times. That’s a welcome opportunity, and it makes the picture worth watching despite some significant flaws and the fact that it’s hardly Hoffman’s best.

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Mad Men Season 7 Promo Peggy and Don

Some TV shows adhere to our thoughts, like glue, tape or that brand of putty known for extreme silliness. These are shows where half the cast might be killed off during a formal wedding feast or where the protagonist’s Great Big Secret is discovered by his brother-in-law while on the can. Mad Men is not one of those shows. It’s something slower, more prone to introspection and a slow simmering burn than graphic violence and CGI dragons. It’s no slight against Mad Men. It’s just a way of saying that a series that opened its sixth season with two hours of Dante’s Inferno allegory is not built for the same kind of cliffhanger anticipation that dragon shows are. Add in the ten(ish)-month gap between the last new episode of Mad Men and today, and you may be a little rusty on the comings and goings of Sterling Cooper & Partners (you may also have forgotten that the series’ ad firm is now called Sterling Cooper & Partners, which has been the case ever since Don Draper and Ted Chaough got drunk and decided to smoosh their two firms together). No worries, that’s why we’re all here: for a quick look back at the old Mad Men and one last look ahead at this year’s shiny new Mad Mens.

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roger sterling

Seeing as he’s one of the senior partners at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce ad agency, John Slattery’s Mad Men character, Roger Sterling, is very used to being in charge of a crew of people. And now that Slattery himself has directed four episodes of the acclaimed show on which he acts, he too is starting to get a feel for being in charge. It makes sense, then, that he would eventually want to put his leadership skills to the test and make the step up to directing a feature film, and Deadline is reporting that he’s all set to do just that. The film is called God’s Pocket, and it’s an adaptation of a Pete Dexter novel about a blue collar neighborhood that Slattery co-adapted alongside Alex Metcalf. More than even its director or the content of its story though, God’s Pocket is notable because of the outstanding cast that it’s already assembled.

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This week, SDCP and CGC assemble to nab that Chevy account that both are vying for. Separate, their agencies are too small and Don fears that Chevy will rip off their creative output and go with a larger agency instead. So, Don and Ted decide last minute (over drinks, of course) to present to Chevy together and worry about all the merger stuff later – our creative leaders swap out Old Fashioneds for shwarma, no doubt. This is all pretty exciting, but perhaps feels a bit contrived. Nevertheless, this week’s Mad Men, entitled “For Immediate Release” (written by Matthew Weiner and directed by Jennifer Getzinger) successfully deals with the blurring together of personal feelings with business politics and how that gray area comes with mostly negative results. The merger, as we learn by the end of the episode, pretty much destroys a lucrative opportunity headed up by Bert, Pete, and Joan – they brought in a banker to evaluate the company for an IPO, and he deemed the company to be worth $11 per share, meaning that the partners stand to be filthy rich (Joan’s portion alone would be worth over $1 million). Don, however, was never alerted about the IPO possibility, so he’s indignant about not being in the loop, while Pete is indignant that Don is so blasé about firing the worst guy ever (Herb from Jaguar, clearly) in an explosive dinner. Don’s move obviously lowers the price of their potential stock and poses the question: what exactly did Joan sacrifice so […]

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This week’s Mad Men is all about not practicing what you preach. Don gets angry with Megan for feigning sex on her soap, when he does a lot more than feign with others in real life. Joan fires Harry’s secretary, Scarlett, when Joan is clearly no angel. And a lot of people are mad about some secret meetings with Heinz Ketchup. This episode, entitled “To Have and to Hold,” probably won’t have much weight in terms of furthering the plot as a whole other than to further complicate the Don/Megan relationship. Though, like last week’s entry, this episode from writer Erin Levy and director Michael Uppendahl has a tight theme, is well-constructed, and is definitely engaging. Joan’s act of hypocrisy here stems from her desperately trying to establish a sense of authority in the male-driven workplace. And you really feel for her, especially since that whole terrible Jaguar situation is still getting thrown in her face. When she discovers that Scarlett made Dawn falsely punch her timecard to duck out with Harry (and also to do some shopping) she is livid and immediately fires Scarlett… only to get undermined by Harry and the rest of the partners when the firing doesn’t stick. Harry is especially awful here, begging for a partnership (which he doesn’t get), saying, “I’m sorry my accomplishments happened in broad daylight and I can’t be given the same rewards.”

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Ginger and Rosa AFI FEST

Editor’s note: Daniel Walber’s review originally ran during NYFF 2012, but we’re re-running it as the film’s limited theatrical release begins this weekend. The personal is political. This adage, one of the seminal concepts to come out of the Feminist Movement in the late 1960s, began with a very specific meaning. The idea was that, given oppression on a societal level, the specific problems facing women in their daily lives necessarily took on larger significance. While it wasn’t actually written down until a 1969 essay by Carol Hanisch, it had been an unspoken truth for a long time. Seven years earlier, when the Cuban Missile Crisis rocked the world’s already fragile sense of security, it manifested in the way that revolutionary men took to the streets yet still expected nothing more of the women in their lives than a well-cooked plate of food and a prompt cup of tea. In her new film, Sally Potter takes stays true to the initial spirit of that revolutionary aphorism while simultaneously making it double. Ginger and Rosa  tells the tale of a teenage girl adrift in London during that panic-stricken summer of 1962. With a relaxed sense of style and a precisely poetic screenplay, Potter has created a film of twinned metaphors. The personal crises of her characters stand in for the anxieties of a nuclear world, while the activist Left and its political struggles against the bomb echo the deeply intimate troubles of teenage love and family strife. The personal becomes political while […]

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Struck By Lightning is a huge deal for Glee star Chris Colfer – at only 22, he not only stars in the film, but also wrote the screenplay and executive produced. He has also adapted his screenplay for the film into the YA novel Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal, marking his second published novel after The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell. Directed by Brian Dannelly (Saved!), Struck by Lightning tells the story of high school overachiever Carson Phillips (Colfer) who dreams of leaving behind his small town, getting into Northwestern, and becoming a wildly successful journalist. However, these dreams come to an abrupt end when he is struck by lightning and dies. The film unfolds via Carson’s posthumous narration, as he recounts his struggles with his emotionally-challenged alcoholic mother (Allison Janney), his seldom-seen father (Dermot Mulroney) and his father’s pregnant fiancée (Christina Hendricks), but mainly how he and his best friend Malerie (Rebel Wilson) blackmail their fellow students into writing for their literary magazine. Colfer was kind enough to talk about his inspirations when writing the screenplay, the exciting festival experience, and other projects that are on his very creative horizon.

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What is Casting Couch? Despite the fact that the movie business seems to be slow to get back to work after the long weekend, it’s a column that’s managed to dig up a couple exciting casting coups. Bryan Singer out-scooped everybody in the news breaking business today when he suddenly started tweeting big updates on how the cast for his upcoming X-Men: First Class sequel, X-Men: Days of Future Past, was developing. He started off small by first confirming that a few members of the First Class crew would be returning. He tweeted, “I’d like to officially welcome back James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, & Nicholas Hoult to #XMEN for #DaysOfFuturePast.” But then he got a little crazy and started confirming rumors that actors from his original X-Men movies will be joining the film as well by tweeting, “Thrilled to announce @ianmckellen118 (Ian McKellan) & @SirPatStew (Patrick Stewart) are joining the cast of #XMEN #DaysOfFuturePast #magneto #professorX More to come…” Do you think we could get scenes where old Professor X and Magneto meet young Professor X and Magneto? The head spins with awesome possibilities.

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Ryan Gosling and Christina Hendricks

And you thought the most lasting piece from Drive was that tragic scorpion jacket hanging in your closet and all those College jams blasting out of your stereo! Turns out, the modern noir from Nicholas Winding Refn might have lit a fire in the belly of real human being and real hero Ryan Gosling, who has today announced details on his directorial debut, which will share both the fantasy noir nature of Drive and one of its leading ladies. Drive co-star Christina Hendricks will star in the Gosling-penned and -directed How to Catch a Monster, a film that will reportedly combine “elements of fantasy noir, and suspense into a modern day fairytale.” Monster is “set against the surreal dreamscape of a vanishing city, [where] Billy, a single mother of two, is swept into a macabre and dark fantasy underworld while her teenage son discovers a secret road leading to an underwater town. Both Billy and Bones must dive deep into the mystery, if their family is to survive.” Producer Marc Platt describes the script as “beautifully haunting,” which sounds like a nice way to describe something that sounds just a bit bonkers but potentially wonderful.

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Recently, director Jason Reitman has been doing a special series of script readings at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Basically what he does is he takes the script for a beloved film, recasts the whole thing with new actors, and does a stage reading in front of a live audience. Rights issues being what they are, something like this can’t be recorded, so getting to experience one of these events is a très exclusive honor. Reitman has already given this treatment to five universally loved movies (The Breakfast Club, The Apartment, Shampoo, Reservoir Dogs, and The Princess Bride), and tonight he’s set to cap off his series with a reading of everyone’s favorite film, The Big Lebowski. Who does he have on tap to bring legendary characters like The Dude and Jackie Treehorn to life on stage? Inside Movies has the scoop, and some of his decisions sound like they’re ripe with fun-time possibilities. For the part of The Dude (or El Duderino, if you’re not into that whole brevity thing) Reitman has chosen Seth Rogen, the man with the best stoner laugh in Hollywood. His best friend and security expert, Walter Sobchak, will be played by The Office star Rainn Wilson, a man not unfamiliar with bluster. As the other Jeffrey Lebowski, the millionaire (and a fucking goldbricker if I’ve ever seen one), is Jason Alexander, a man used to spinning unbelievable yarns. And for Lebowski’s red-headed and inappropriately sexual daughter Maude, they’ve tapped Mad Men star […]

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Director Tony Kaye (American History X) returns to American cinema with his Detachment, a new film that also focuses on the maligned and the angry – American teenagers. Not quite kidding. The film stars Adrien Brody as “Henry Barthes, a substitute teacher who conveniently avoids any emotional connections by never staying anywhere long enough to form a bond with either his students or colleagues. A lost soul grappling with a troubled past, Henry finds himself at a public schoolwhere an apathetic student body has created a frustrated, burned-out administration.” The film’s relatively simple plotline hides what’s at the root of Detachment – it’s an unexpectedly unique film with a very different worldview on modern relationships and the teacher/student dynamic. Dead Poets Society this is not. In an exclusive clip from the film, some of the less charming of Barthes’ students are on full display in an altercation with the school principal involving one seriously mistreated Christina Hendricks. And just who is doing the mistreatment? Those terrifically awful teenagers. Remember how awful high schoolers can be with the clip after the break.

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Some actors worry about keeping strict control over how the world perceives them and making sure that they don’t get typecast, but Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks seems to think that if you look that good dressed up in the garb of the period, why not follow up your head turning, 60s-set breakout performance with another role steeped in the same decade? To that end, she has accepted a role in director Sally Potter’s upcoming anti-nuke movie Bomb, which tells the tale of a couple of teenage girls who become part of the Ban the Bomb movement and also learn a little bit about free love and their own blossoming sexuality along the way.There isn’t yet any word on what role Hendricks will play in the film, but she joins a cast that already includes Elle Fanning and Alice Englert as the main girls, and is also rumored to soon pick up names like Alessandro Nivola and Annette Bening as well.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news and tidbit (that word makes it giggle) column that is back in full swing this week. A special thanks to Cole Abaius for picking up the reigns last week while usual author Neil Miller was locked away in a 3×3 ft. cell in preparation for Fantastic Fest. No, there was not a reason for it. And yes, he has emerged ready for a bare-knuckle boxing match (or two). But first, the news… We begin tonight with a shot of Christian Bale and Terrence Malick walking through the crowds of the Austin City Limits music festival this past weekend here in Austin, TX. It caused quite a commotion with the crowds, many of whom were there to see acts like Bright Eyes, Stevie Wonder and Kanye West. As a surprise, they got T. Malick in that silly hat.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr feels the weight of the fall movie season. It’s September, and while the kids are heading back to school, he’s playing hooky with Sarah Jessica Parker chick flicks and yet another not-quite-70s-video-nasty remake. Kevin is consoled by the release of Drive, however, because Albert Brooks as a crime boss makes him chuckle. And his love for 3D and Disney meet head-on in a collision of awesomeness.

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Director Nicolas Winding Refn is making quite a name for himself in the film lover community by making stylish, testosterone-filled films for guys. He blew everybody away by casting Tom Hardy in a movie about an alpha male criminal named Bronson that was so mannishly awesome my meathead, physical trainer cousin watched it three times a week for a year. And recently he started taking his newest effort Drive around to festivals. It’s about cars, robberies, stunt driving, and violence, and everyone who sees it completely gushes about how much it rules. Refn has done other things too, like Valhalla Rising and the Pusher trilogy, that all explore manly themes of violence and grimacing. He’s a man’s man of a filmmaker. It’s a little strange then, that Refn keeps saying his dream job is to make a movie about the girliest of all superheroes, Wonder Woman. Or maybe not so much, if you really look at it. Wonder Woman is a warrior born, an overpowering presence that inspires everyone around her, and she was raised in a culture of violence. Despite getting her face plastered all over little girl’s underwear for the last fifty years, she’s actually kind of a badass, much in the same vein as Bronson. And whenever Refn randomly brings the movie up, he always manages to throw in the notion that he thinks Drive actress Christina Hendricks would be his dream choice to play the character. What could be more appealing to male sensibilities than putting […]

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Driving is boring. It’s so damn boring. Watching characters drive is often one of the most boring and cinematically flat things in movies. It’s rarely exciting. Directors constantly complain about the difficulty of finding energy or something of interest when characters stare off onto a road. Who could actually make such a dull-seeming activity cool, cinematic, and energetic? Nicolas Winding Refn, that’s who. Refn’s a director with a voice of his own, something that’s a bit of rarity nowadays. He’s got a specific personality that’s reflected perfectly on-screen. With Valhalla Rising, Bronson, and the Pusher trilogy, the guy has shown a great love for his violent characters. The auteur revels in exploring men of violence, what makes them tick, and their relationship with their surroundings. The lead in Drive, suitably credited only as Driver, is a lot like Bronson and One-Eye. He’s a man with his own presence, most of his intentions and thought processes are expressed internally, and he isn’t afraid to kick some ass if push comes to shove. Unlike Bronson, though, Driver doesn’t at all represent some form of madness. In this story that’s filled mostly with bastards, Driver is the most moralistic man among them.

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As the films come to a close, patterns tend to emerge. This year, for instance, there has been a definite focus on the cinema of abuse, of nostalgia and on auteur-driven films, but the most engaging and intriguing mini-pattern for me is the cinema of misdirection, i.e. films that suggest they are one thing and ultimately offer something entirely different by their end. Unlike Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, and The Skin I Live In and even to a lesser extent Hara-Kiri, Drive‘s directional swerve is a tonal one, rather than a thematic or material one. What at the outset looks like an indie love story, with background driving sub-plots, swerves wildly onto a more ragged road. Ryan Gosling (Cannes’ new darling after this and last year’s mesmerizing Blue Valentine) stars as a stunt-driver/mechanic by day, who moonlights as a getaway driver who is as solitary as Leon, and as effortlessly cool and detached as Bullitt. This driver’s world is flipped when he meets his neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan, who looks stunning), and is immediately floored by her (and her son Benicio). Problem is, Irene has an ex-con husband (Standard, played by Oscar Isaac) who they discover has been granted early release, and doesn’t take too kindly to the driver muscling in on his family. When the driver discovers Standard beaten and bloody in the car park, he offers his services to pull off the one last job that will see the ex-criminal able to get out and go straight. Only things […]

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You know Mike Figgis. He’s that guy who directed Leaving Las Vegas and then, uh… some other stuff. I’m 90% certain Time Code was his next one, but then I must have stopped paying attention to him after that. Probably he did something important that’s slipping my mind and I’m really going to hear it in the comments. Regardless, he’s got a new movie on tap and he’s taking advantage of the Mad Men hiatus to have Christina Hendricks star in it. Whether she’s been running a 60s era ad agency in a parade of period costumes or grifting Captain Mal Reynolds and the crew of Serenity, I’ve absolutely loved everything that I’ve seen Christina Hendricks in, and I’m thrilled to see her get a big role in a feature. Whenever somebody writes a piece on Hendricks, it’s usually got something to do with her boom-booms and what she’s doing for the perception of women or whatever, but blah blah blah, who cares? This girl can act, why don’t we talk about that instead?

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this shit late at night, what do you expect?

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B


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