Christopher Plummer

MAGF

For Muhammad Ali, one of the most highly publicized fights of his lifetime happened outside of the ring, when, for religious reasons, he declined to enlist in the army during the Vietnam War. As the Stephen Frears film Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight details, the prize fighter’s decision to claim conscientious objector status after being drafted and the legal battles that ensued caused massive public uproar and outrage at Ali’s “audacity.” You know, even though there were definitely white guys claiming CO status, too. The HBO film boasts a stacked cast, including Danny Glover, Frank Langella, Christopher Plummer, Barry Levinson, and Bob Balaban. What is particularly interesting is that rather than casting an Ali, the film solely uses archival footage during his scenes. At least we know his words are exactly as he said them? Check out the trailer for yourself:

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edgerton

What is Casting Couch? It’s a roundup of casting news, and today it’s a total sausage fest. When the guests at the news party are as charming as Michael Peña and Christopher Plummer though, it’s hard to complain. Unless you’re one of the few people who sat through The Odd Life of Timothy Green and haven’t repressed the memory, it’s not likely you’ve ever seen a Joel Edgerton performance and come away disappointed. And unless you’re just an absolute monster, it’s not likely you’ve ever seen a Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter, Mud) movie and come away disappointed either. Put the two of them together and what do you get? Apparently a “present-day sci-fi chase film” that’s also going to star Michael Shannon. Or, at least, that’s what a Variety report claiming that Edgerton is currently negotiating to join Nichols’ next project says. I probably don’t have to tell you that this all sounds very intriguing.

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James Marsden

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting column whose Wizards of Waverly Place fandom is finally coming in handy. That upcoming comedy where Elizabeth Banks tries to juggle being a person with loose morals with being a person with career goals, Walk of Shame, has just added another actor. According to Variety, James Marsden has joined the film. There’s no word on what sort of character he’s going to be playing, and seeing as the film is about a series of adventures that occur as Banks’ character tries to get from the scene of a one night stand to a job interview across town, that leaves a lot of possibilities open. Will Marsden be a romantic foil? Just someone who pops in briefly for a humorous interaction? We don’t know, but since we all saw Death at a Funeral, what we do know is that Marsden can do goofy comedy. Hopefully this one will give him another chance to act silly.

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Michael Fassbender

What is Casting Couch? It’s where you go to make sure Elijah Wood is adding another new job to his calendar every day. Turns out, today he kept the streak alive, read on… Colin Firth and Michael Fassbender are two of the best actors on the planet Earth; objectively, inarguably. What a coup, then, that director Michael Grandage has landed both of them for his upcoming project, Genius. Based on a book by A. Scott Berg, Genius is a biopic that explores the relationship between Thomas Wolfe (Fassbender) and his editor Max Perkins (Firth). Turns out Wolfe and Perkins were great friends, but the kind who butted heads over everything. Sure, listening to two guys argue over word choice wouldn’t normally sound like a very exciting idea for a movie, but with these two actors on board it absolutely does. Add this one to your to-do list. [Variety]

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Editor’s Note: This article will be updated in real time as the winners come in during the Academy Awards broadcast. Please join us for our Live-Blog tonight (because we ask nicely), and while you wait for the winners, check out our Oscar Week Series, where you will find breakdowns and predictions for all of the major categories. It’s finally here! The time of year where I can write a paragraph that no one will read because they’ve already scrolled down to see who’s won. But even though this won’t be seen by humans, here’s a personal reminder that this night may be about politics and back-slapping, but it’s also about the splendor of cinema. It’s about the magic of movies. The genius of thousands of images all strung together with blood, sweat and tears to create characters and a journey through the heart of a story. There are some great stories on display tonight. That’s what matters second most. What matters most, of course, is crushing your enemies, seeing them driven before you and hearing the lamentation of their women. Let’s get to the winning, right? And the Oscar goes to…

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In a couple of hours, we’ll start live-blogging our little hearts out as Neil pretends to know what “chiffon” is, and after the red carpet, we’ll sink into that fifth drink while reveling in the sheer majesty of the 2012 Academy Awards. Stifling cynicism can take a taxi outta town for a while, because no matter what, if you want to see it, there’s still something magical about this night. Part of that magic is being completely wrong. We’re confident now, but when the winners are announced, there’s always the tiny possibility of a big surprise. So who did you put down in your office pool to take home gold tonight? Our team spent all week tossing out their best analyses, and it all comes down to this. Here’s who we picked. Would you take us up on these bets?

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Oscar 2012 Predictions: Best Supporting Actor

A frustrated actor/director, a former alcoholic and bad father, an old man coming out as he approaches death, a mysterious and gentle mute, and a young whiz kid who may shake up the world of baseball — all in all, that’s a pretty eclectic bunch of nominees. Of course, there’s no real surprises in this category. With the exception of Jonah Hill, my personal favorite of the nominees, these are all safe and understandable nominations. I, for one, am still baffled at how Albert Brooks didn’t get nominated. Who did he piss off to cause this? Someone must be behind this grave injustice! Are the nerds of the world still crying over this? They have reason to, I suppose. While they’re at it, they should continue to shed a few tears for — and sing the praises of – Patton Oswalt (Young Adult), Shea Whigham (Take Shelter), Ben Kingsley (Hugo), John Hawkes (Martha Marcy May Marlene), and just about everyone who wasn’t Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Like most of their respected nominees, they all gave tremendous performances. Without further ado and less whining, here are the nominations for Best Supporting Actor, with my predicted winner in red…

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Jonah Hill

As you may have noticed if you’ve gone online or been anywhere near a TV today, the nominees for this year’s Academy Awards were announced this morning. Along with that always comes the scrambling to contact those nominated to get their reaction to the honor. Usually what they have to say is pretty boring, but hey, it’s a tradition. And it’s one that Variety has been hard at work keeping all day long. As a service to the world, I’ve compiled some of the more high profile reactions they’ve received here in one place.

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It’s been a year filled with silent screen stars seeking redemption, the 1920s coming alive in Paris, a young boy searching for the first great director, sex addicts in New York City, horses going to war, maids of dishonor, and skulls getting crushed in elevators. Now it’s time to celebrate all of those things and more with the 84th annual Academy Awards. They’ve come a long way since the Hotel Roosevelt in 1929 (although sex addicts have almost always been a fixture). Get to ready to smile, ball your fists with snubbed rage, or be generally unsurprised. Here they are. The 2012 Oscar nominees:

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I have been an advocate of “Trent Reznor, Composer” after being blown away by the score he created for The Social Network last year (along with Atticus Ross) and was excited when I heard they were teaming back up again with director David Fincher for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. When the first teaser trailer for the film dropped, set to their pulse-pounding version of “Immigrant Song” (featuring Karen O), I was clamoring to hear more of the “turned up to eleven” sound that seemed like it would permeate throughout the “feel bad movie of Christmas.” Unfortunately, this in-your-face attitude seemed to live in this song alone and did not extend to the rest of the score. After releasing a six-track sampler (which you can download here), I realized this score was going to be much more subdued than their previous collaboration, but I was still intrigued and hopeful of what was to come. After hearing the music in the context of the film during a screening this past week, I couldn’t shake the surprising feeling I had when walking away from it – disappointed.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr pulls out his screening schedule, which looks like a gambling addict’s racing form. He bounces from huge, mainstream releases to minor indie award contenders. Facing motion-capture CGI, tattooed bisexual investigators, cross-dressing waiters, silent film actors, and a lead star who is literally hung like a horse, Kevin tries to make sense of the seemingly countless releases this holiday week. Exhaustion from this process makes it impossible to buy a zoo or face the 3D end of the world, but his movie stocking is full, nonetheless.

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The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is the first book (and film) in Swedish author Stieg Larsson’s bestselling Millenium Trilogy. The books have sold 65 million copies worldwide, and the three Swedish films have done blockbuster business throughout Europe and excessively well during limited runs here in the States. This much we know. The mohawked elephant in the room though is David Fincher‘s American remake/adaptation that hits theaters this week. Was it necessary to remake something already popular on such a global scale? Can Fincher improve upon Niels Arden Oplev’s original film? Can Rooney Mara do an equal or better job with the role that made Noomi Rapace an international star? No. Yes. And hell yes.

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Hugo

It is day four of awards season, and already some names are growing wearyingly familiar, and even the surprises don’t quite pop like they used to. On Monday evening, the Gothams announced their annual awards, followed swiftly by the Film Independent Spirit nominations announcement and the NYFCC’s winners, but director Martin Scorsese and his latest film, Hugo, were without some big awards love – until now. The National Board of Review has announced their best-of picks for the year, and Hugo has topped out as Best Film, with Scorsese grabbing Best Director. As the film opened just last week, here’s hoping that this NBR endorsement will pump up somewhat lackluster box office returns. Paired with a weekend box office free of new major releases, and maybe Hugo can swing up to the top of the heap. As for the rest of the Board’s awards, there’s a bevy of names here that already seem like old hat – picks like Christopher Plummer for Beginners and The Artist, The Descendants, and The Tree of Life as a “top” films for the year – but there are still a few eyebrow-raisers, as our friends over at /Film note, J.C. Chandor picking up another award for his debut, Margin Call, continues to be surprising. Where is Sean Durkin and his own Sundance hit Martha Marcy May Marlene? And J. Edgar as one of the year’s best? And a Breakthrough to Felicity Jones and Rooney Mara, but no Elizabeth Olsen? Bizarre, really. But there are […]

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Why Watch? Because the capacity of one man is larger than we think. Christopher Plummer narrates this award-winning short that’s a bit longer than the films we normally feature here. Clocking in at 30 minutes, it’s definitely one of the longest, but it’s a compelling tale about one man attempting to re-forest a barren area. You may even recognize it as a childhood bedtime story. The animation is impressionistic in browns, blacks and creams. Beautifully fluid work, it’s clear that it took care and time to create. What does it cost? Just 2 minutes of your time. Check out The Man Who Planted Trees for yourself:

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A couple days ago a red band trailer for David Fincher’s upcoming adaptation of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” hit the Internet and made the rounds among movie blogs and message boards. It wasn’t really clear if it was an unintentional leak, or if it was put out to look as an intentional leak as a bit of viral marketing that fit in well with the hacker status of the female protagonist, or maybe if it was just a trailer released without much fanfare due to its pseudo NSFW status. But none of that really matters anymore. Now we’ve got an officially released trailer for the film that looks a heck of a lot like the leaked one, but is all high definition and pretty, and doesn’t have any bits that are naughty (sorry, side boob lovers). So what does this trailer have in store for us? Nothing shocking really; but enough to get my blood pumping anyways. This little bit of advertising is quick, kinetic, and full of energy. It’s got a hip re-imagining of a Led Zeppelin classic, a very digital, very typical of David Fincher aesthetic, very gorgeous production design. Also, it probably can’t help but remind me a lot of that one movie I saw… you know, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. The trailer is a reminder that I’ve already heard this story, already solved this mystery, already lived alongside these characters, and it can’t help but feel awfully familiar. But it looks awfully damn pretty […]

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Film festivals always seem to end up with a few paint by numbers indie films. Throw in an angsty 30-something unhappy with his life, an awkward relationship with a cute girl and a few gay characters and you have Beginners, or any number of other quirky indie dramedies you might have seen. Despite a pretty stellar cast including Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer and Melanie Laurent, Mike Mills’s movie is a bland and pretentious film that doesn’t add up to much. The film focuses primarily on McGregor’s Oliver, the aforementioned angsty 30-something who’s been thrown into a bit of an existential crisis by the last few years of his father’s life. After the death of his mother, his father Hal finally has the courage to tell Oliver that he’s gay and has been his whole life. With no one to embarrass or disappoint with his true self, Hal lives his remaining few years out in the open enjoying and celebrating who he is, dating a much younger man while organizing parties and pride marches and letter writing campaigns to right wing politicians. But eventually Hal succumbs to the cancer that has riddled his body and the party is over. The film begins with Oliver cleaning out his father’s stuff after his death, but a good portion of the story takes place in flashbacks showing Hal’s last few years as well as some of Oliver’s childhood and his relationship with his mother.

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Mike Mills‘s latest film, Beginners, bares many similarities to his directorial debut, Thumbsucker. Both films are personal tales from the acclaimed filmmaker, they cover similar thematics, and are honest and, somewhat, dark stories told in a heightened manner. That style is mostly due to, as Mills claims, his art background. Nearly every frame in Beginners feels precise and beautifully composed. The auteur director has a style of his own, despite all the inspirations he mentions in our chat. Woody Allen is definitely the clearest influence, but this is the type of film that even Allen himself hasn’t made in quite some time. Here’s what director Mike Mills had to say about losing a father, finding financing, and creating art.

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Every day, come rain or shine or internet tubes breaking, Film School Rejects showcases a trailer from the past. Yesterday we featured an Oscar nominee for Best Picture. Today, we don’t! But, hopefully Caroline Munro in a nearly non-existent black bikini fighting bad guys in space will cheer you up. If that won’t do it, Christopher Plummer having to say the most ridiculous lines of his career will. Just two years after Star Wars, this little gem popped onto screens featuring a bold team of adventurers trying to defeat an evil count who was building a weapon so large that a planet had to hide it. Crazy. Enjoy! Think you know what it is? Check the trailer out for yourself:

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A trailer for the new film from Thumbsucker director Mike Mills has hit the web. It’s called Beginners and stars Christopher Plummer, Ewan McGregor, and Mélanie Laurent. Beginners tells the story of a father and son, both trying to find their places in the world, the cute little dog that’s going to run along beside them and make everybody’s girlfriend want to see the movie, and the hot chick from Inglorious Basterds that’s going to get their boyfriends to agree.  It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last September, and is set for release in US theaters on June 3rd. Check out the trailer for yourself after the jump.

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Shout! Factory began an impressive endeavor earlier this year with the announcement that they would be releasing monthly titles under the Roger Corman’s Cult Classics banner. The titles have so far ranged from Rock n Roll High School and Death Race 2000 to Piranha and Humanoids From the Deep. Not only are they rescuing several of these flicks from VHS obscurity, but they’re also adding tons of brand new special features. And the wonderfully odd and eclectic hits keep on coming with their latest addition, the 1978 Star Wars ripoff homage ripoff… Starcrash.

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