Christoph Waltz

Spectre poster image

This morning, the next James Bond installment went from being known as “Bond 24″ to having an actual title we can sort of hold on to. And also wonder about. The movie, which is being helmed by Skyfall director Sam Mendes, is now called SPECTRE, which should probably always be capitalized as it’s the acronym name of the franchise’s most notable villainous organization. For more than 50 years, since the Ian Fleming novels, SPECTRE has stood for “SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion,” and their shadowy existence has been either prominently featured or in the background of many of the 007 movies, beginning with the first, Dr. No. The current reboot of the screen franchise with Daniel Craig as Bond had seemed to be purposefully avoiding the organization, with a similar group known as Quantum being invented for the series instead. In fact, it was intentionally, having to do with a copyright dispute going back decades, but that legal matter was settled last year allowing Bond movie producers EON to use the SPECTRE name as well as that of a certain iconic nemesis who many of us (including former 007 Roger Moore) assume will also be in SPECTRE: Ernest Stavro Blofeld. If he is, it’s all but completely obvious that he’s being portrayed by Christoph Waltz. However, that significant detail was not confirmed by the studio or filmmakers today.

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Big Eyes Movie

Twenty years after Tim Burton‘s greatest achievement, Ed Wood, he’s teamed up once again with screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszwewski to tell Margaret Keane’s story. Keane’s art was hugely popular in the 1950s and 1960s. Her bold, beautiful and beloved paintings of sad big-eyed children were even sold at hardware stores and gas stations. The problem was, she didn’t receive any credit for them. Her failed artist of a husband, Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz), took credit for her work. He claimed nobody would buy the paintings if they knew they were painted by a woman, so why not instead make a boatload of cash passing them off as his own? The initially timid Margaret (played soulfully by Amy Adams) went along with his story — that he’s the real artist, not her. Walter became consumed by the wealth and acclaim, while the lie ate away at Margaret and, at one point, greatly upset her daughter Jane (Madeleine Arthur), a major inspiration for Margaret’s work. The story grows progressively sadder and stranger. When Margaret finally does stand up for herself, Walter reacts in frightening and ridiculous ways. Most of her husband’s manipulation is played for laughs, but it never detracts from the drama of Margaret’s situation. Alexander and Karaszwewski’s script pulls off a real tonal challenge in that regard. Even when events take an exceptionally silly turn in the third act, the film manages to earn both the huge laughs and emotional catharsis. Like Ed Wood, Big Eyes is often outrageous but totally […]

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The Zero Theorem

Editor’s note: This review was originally published on September 30, 2013 as part of our Fantastic Fest 2013 coverage. A bald man, one without hair seemingly anywhere on his body, calmly sits naked in front of his computer screen as he watches what appears to be either a simulation or video of the awesome action of an outer space black hole. It sucks in all of the space circling around it like an endlessly flushing toilet bowl of stars, matter, and time. Our hairless hero is Qohen Leth (Christoph Waltz). Qohen is neither the cunning villainous type nor the quick-witted heroic type, and his emotional characteristics are as bald as his head. We’re exposed to only a handful of states out of Qohen as we follow with him in his daily routine through a comically crazy and colorful future where he seems as physically discomforted by the assaults of this world as a prisoner released from Shawshank prison after fifty years. The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry to do something; or probably nothing as I understand it. Welcome to Terry Gilliam‘s The Zero Theorem.

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Zero Theorem Poster

It’s virtually impossible to recognize Terry Gilliam’s Zero Theorem as anything but a spiritual sequel to Brazil. It’s a similar story of a corporate cog lamenting his status in an insane (and insanely large) world that makes him feel powerless, but it takes place in the universe next door where the Marx Brothers didn’t invent the bureaucracy. Christopher Waltz plays a man desperately waiting for a phone call that will explain his purpose. He kills his time by obsessively trying to slam math blocks into an impossible equation for a paycheck. It’s a somber absurdity, which is why this new poster represents the film beautifully. The stoicism, the closed eyes, the deconstruction. Not only is it striking, it looks like the back of his mind turns to stardust just off the edge of the page — a fitting representation of the movie’s larger-than-the-universe sentiment that plays out in a cramped church nave.

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Tarzan

Pre-production has officially begun on the Alexander Skarsgård-led Tarzan movie from Warner Bros., set to be filmed in 3D, and coming with a swath of big names attached. Due to arrive July 1, 2016, Harry Potter vet David Yates will direct the live-action film, with a screenplay based on the writings of Tarzan creator and author Egar Rice Burroughs, whom also created the much beloved John Carter. Yates’ film will be joining Zack Snyder’s 2016 untitled Man of Steel sequel as yet another big, summer tentpole for Warner Bros. What a difference a new year makes, as April of 2013, the project was considered mothballed due to budgetary and casting issues, the most noteworthy of which was a rumored difficulty in getting Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx onboard. It appears now that Foxx may be out of the equation all the same, as the current cast includes The Wolf of Wall Street star Margot Robbie as Jane, Django Unchained actor Christoph Waltz, and Samuel L. Jackson (who is not Laurence Fishburne). Jessica Chastain was also a name attached to the project last year, but like Foxx, also appears to have moved on.

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“Zero must equal one hundred percent.” You’ll be hearing that a lot in the first trailer for Terry Gilliam‘s The Zero Theorem. But what does it all mean? How can such a tiny piece of math re-grow Christoph Waltz‘s hair and transplant him onto some picturesque, “wish you were here” postcard of a beach? How can math (seriously, math?) strip him nude and set him adrift through space? Judging from the trailer alone, it’s not entirely clear. But then, if it was entirely clear just from two and a half minutes of footage, this trailer would probably be giving far too much away. Instead, we get a big mess of everything- set pieces, characters, plot points- and it’s all wrapped up in enough trippy mystery mishmash that nothing can really qualify as a spoiler. Sure, some of these CGI doodads must have real narrative significance, but without anything to link them together, who can tell?

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PORTRAITS  BEST OF

Some stories are so simple and so timeless that they’ll forever be a part of cinema. Boy meets girl. A stranger comes to town. A man is raised by apes, yet upon closer inspection, is not actually an ape himself. Samuel L. Jackson is clearly a fan of that third idea, as the actor is now in talks for a co-starring role in the live-action Tarzan film that director David Yates has been trying to get off the ground for some time now. Back in April, budgetary concerns threatened to de-vine Tarzan for good, but the addition of Jackson, the confirmation of Christoph Waltz (who entered talks for the film in September), and the already-on-board star Alexander Skarsgard mean things are looking a little brighter. The film still hasn’t been greenlit yet, however – and only after doing so will it begin casting its Jane. Right now, Margot Robbie is said to be the frontrunner there. So now Tarzan‘s got its grade-A, top choice cast. It’s got a budget (or had a budget, at one time) that was enough to make Warner Bros quake with fear and slam the panic button. How exactly will the film balance its blockbuster leanings with the somewhat ridiculous image of an actor cavorting around in nothing but a small piece of brown fabric? I don’t mean to harp on Tarzan, or his fashion choices. And obviously, there’s a level of audience appeal in a mostly nude well-built actor doing a little cavorting. But over the […]

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villain

Christoph Waltz is a super charismatic performer who can easily come off as being very likable, as we saw last year when he won everyone’s hearts as the second lead in Django Unchained. But the fact of the matter is, he debuted in mainstream minds so powerfully and so memorably playing an evil and disturbing Nazi in Inglorious Basterds that many seem to be typecasting him as a bad dude. Already since Basterds got everyone’s attention he’s played a ridiculous villain in The Green Hornet, a ridiculous villain in The Three Musketeers, and now there are reports that he’s being looked at to play what’s sure to be a ridiculous villain in David Yates’ upcoming Tarzan film. The story comes from Variety, who report that Waltz is currently in talks to join the film opposite Alexander Skarsgard’s title character. Seeing as there are so many dozens of “Tarzan” novels alone, not to mention all of the other versions of the character from other mediums, it’s hard to say what sort of storyline Yates and company are looking to adapt for this new Tarzan film, but early reports indicate that the character Waltz is up for would be that of a military man. Likely a smug military man, with a jerk plan of some sort.

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The Zero Theorem

In many of the projects that Christoph Waltz takes on, he plays a man with a definite mission. In Inglourious Basterds, he needed to hunt down Lt. Aldo Raine and his Nazi hunters. Django Unchained – he was a bounty hunter searching for criminals in exchange for rewards. And for Terry Gilliam‘s The Zero Theorem, the stakes are a just a little bit higher. Waltz plays Qohen, a man whose life is spent waiting for a mysterious phone call while attempting to solve the Zero Theorem, a discovery that will prove that all existence is meaningless. Though the eccentric Qohen rarely leaves his den to venture outdoors because of the whole “working on a groundbreaking discovery that will shatter everything we’ve ever known” deal, this clip gives us a glimpse of the fantastical world Gilliam has created outside Qohen’s home. Check it out for yourself:

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Drinking Games

At the end of 2012, maverick director Quentin Tarantino brought his latest ultra-violent and over-the-top exploitation film to cinemas, raking in more than $400m in worldwide box office. Now, Django Unchained is available on DVD and Blu-ray. While King Schultz and Django Freeman travel through the American South, collecting bounties, you can relax and enjoy their ride with an ice cold beverage of your choice. Let the offensive language slide and get into the tribute to spaghetti westerns and blaxploitation cinema. Just don’t take that language with you when you shut the movie off, regardless of how many drinks you’ve had.

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Best Supporting Actor

The supporting actor. He’s not the guy, he’s the guy behind the guy. That’s not always a bad thing though. The lead actor generally has to be the guy the audience is relating to, so those sort of roles can end up being kind of vanilla. The supporting roles though, that’s where the memorable weirdos come from. Getting a great supporting role can afford an actor the opportunity to go completely off the wall with their performance, or at least take some calculated risks that aren’t likely to sink the whole film if they don’t pay off. As a result, the best supporting roles of the year can be more interesting than the best leads, and this year definitely has a colorful cast of characters. Here are the ones that the Academy liked in 2012 with my predicted winner in red:

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Django

Editor’s Note: This article contains spoilers for Django Unchained (and all of Tarantino’s other films). With Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino has taken a decisive shift in his approach to storytelling. Abandoning the non-linear, present-set depictions of an organized criminal underworld in Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown and the Kill Bill films, Tarantino has not only transitioned to more conventional linear storytelling (with the exception of the requisite flashback), but chooses familiar historical contexts in which to tell these stories. With the WWII-set Inglourious Basterds and now with the pre-Civil War-era Western Django, Tarantino has made a habit of mixing the historical with the inventively anachronistic, and has turned recent modern histories of racial and ethnic oppression, dehumanization, and extermination into ostensibly cathartic fantasies of revenge against vast systemic structures of power.

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A Look Back at the Cinematic Facial Hair of 2012

The movies released in 2012 have been notable for many reasons, impacting or reflecting news events both positively and negatively. It’s also seen new innovations, the most notable being the first release of a film in 48 frames per second. However, cinematic historians will also look back on 2012 as being a banner year for facial hair. The entire crew of Film School Rejects relishes glorious facial hair (and yes, that also includes the ladies on staff). We all wish we could have half the style that characters in the movies this year displayed on their lips, chins and cheeks. Now, as the year draws to a close, we reminisce on the many styles we’ve seen on movie screens in 2012, and maybe give some tips on how to grow your own face so glorious.

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Bret McKenzie and Kermit

James Bobin’s relaunch of Jim Henson’s fuzzy felt creations, The Muppets, was one of the big success stories of 2011. It proved that The Muppets could still be box office draws, it won over fans who had loved The Muppets for years and were initially skeptical of whether it could be good, and it made a whole new crop of Muppets fans out of kids meeting the characters for the first time. A big reason for the film’s success was that it featured great songs like “Life’s a Happy Song” and “Man Or Muppet,” which were not only good enough to be put up in the pantheon of best Muppets songs ever written, but were also good enough to win their composer, Flight of the Conchords’ Bret McKenzie, an Oscar for Best Original Song (and they were also catchy enough that you’ll probably be humming them for the rest of the day now that you’ve been reminded of them).

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Christoph Waltz

What is Casting Couch? It’s a daily roundup of all the casting news you care about, and maybe (probably) one or two items you don’t. Some info has finally leaked about James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller’s upcoming sequel to The Muppets. Turns out it’s going to be a caper movie, somewhat along the lines of The Great Muppet Caper, but with more of an international flair. How international? So international that THR is reporting they’re closing in on signing Christoph Waltz to play one of the main, non-Muppet roles—that of an Interpol inspector. Other important parts for humans are said to include a Russian femme fatale and a male lead with mysterious intentions. Actors looking to land the part should start sending in their shifty-eyed head shots now.

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If you want to go into Django Unchained unspoiled, then watching the second trailer isn’t the brightest idea. While the first teaser was all about attitude, this one is much more story heavy. It has the set up, the conflict, and some rather spectacular money shots. A few of those shots may be best to experience on the big screen first, so if you want to go in fresh, stick with the first trailer. However, if you want to see more of a slave owning Leonardo DiCaprio, then check it out:

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The Way Way Back

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the ongoing saga of one man’s quest to catalog every great movie and TV-related link the blogosphere has to offer. It happens on weeknights, just before bed time, and you should read it often. Share it with your friends, even. We begin tonight with a first look at The Way, Way Back and its stars Steve Carell and Sam Rockwell, who will get in front of the camera for Jim Rash and Nat Faxon the Oscar winning duo behind The Descendants and two men who have acted their way into your hearts in various other properties. In the case of Rash, it was as the Dean on Community. The NYT has a great piece on the pair and their upcoming film.

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Christoph Waltz and Brad Pitt

Stephen Gaghan isn’t exactly a household name, but he’s a creative type whose work you’re likely familiar with. Not only does he have a hefty screenwriting résumé that includes titles like Rules of Engagement and Traffic, but he was also the writer/director of the George Clooney vehicle, Syriana. Why is this all important? Because The Wrap has news about what his next project is going to be, and it sounds pretty interesting. The film, which is being produced through Lionsgate, is called Candy Shop, and it’s said to be something of a crime thriller. The story’s protagonist is a deep cover operative dedicated to fighting an evil global organization who ends up losing everything and having to give up the life. Retirement doesn’t prove to come too easy though, because soon after he disappears into Brooklyn to live out the rest of his days as a fairly anonymous beat cop, he finds that the exact same organization he was dedicated to bringing down is operating right in his new neighborhood. If that doesn’t sound exciting enough, get a load of the actors that Gaghan is already courting to join his cast…

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Terry Gilliam

It’s been nearly two decades since Terry Gilliam last time traveled into the science fiction world of insanity and Twelve Monkeys. According to /film, it’s time to break out the champagne and party hats because Gilliam is heading back into sci-fi territory with his otherwise dormant The Zero Theorem, and he’s bringing along Christoph Waltz. That is, as they say, a Bingo. The story focuses on Qohen Leth (who was previously to be played by Billy Bob Thornton), a computer genius working dilligently to solve an impossible theorem. He lives in a 1984-style world where the omniscient Management keeps an eye on everyone. Beyond Leth, there’s a love interested looking to virtually hook up and a new friend who builds him a suit that will take an inventory of Leth’s soul in order to prove or disprove the theorem. Definitely a Bingo. The good news is that the project is gearing up quickly and attempting to shoot in October. That is, until some terrible force of nature closes down the production as per Gilliam’s enemies’ contract with the Devil. Let’s bask and enjoy this good fortune while it lasts. With a lot of luck, we’ll get to see it in 2013.

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Quentin Tarantino‘s Inglourious Basterds was one of the best films of 2009, if not the best, and it was also his first foray into history. He’s returning to theaters this Christmas with a movie that goes even further back in time to tackle our nation’s sordid past and present love of violent comeuppance and cameos. Django Unchained stars Jamie Foxx as a slave named Django who enters into a deal with a fastidious dentist (Christoph Waltz) for his freedom. If Django helps the good doctor find and identify some wanted men he’ll be granted his freedom as well as the chance at rescuing his wife (Kerry Washington) from a sadistic land baron (Leonardo DiCaprio). The film promises bloody violence and action, sharp dialogue and a dark sense of humor which is exactly the kind of movie you want to watch on Christmas. Check out the new international trailer below.

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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B
published: 12.12.2014
D+


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