Clive Owen

Words and Pictures Movie

From the opening frame to the closing credits it’s clear that Words and Pictures is not too concerned with either of its eponymous art forms. Insipid words and aesthetically unremarkable pictures occupy Fred Schepisi’s sluggish and slight romantic-comedy. Cast as the two potential love interests are Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche, a pair high school professors at a private school in New England. Neither teachers by trade, both Jack (Owen) and Dina (Binoche) were similarly heralded as innovative artists in their respective mediums once upon a time: he a poet, she a painter. But their accomplishments seem to be a thing of the past now as they both are undergoing bouts of artistic stagnation. This stagnation is worsened by Jack’s alcoholism and Dina’s osteoporosis.

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Words and Pictures

It’s a tale often told before. The loveable, unconventional English teacher with a heart of gold has his following at his school — his devoted students who don’t quite understand why they have to read booooring books, but they sure as hell respect the heck out of him, and his fellow faculty who seems to adore him just as much. Never underestimate a pair of black rimmed glasses, fellas. But of course, there’s but one person who is apparently immune to his charms, a quirky and aloof art teacher who appears seemingly overnight with her paints and collection of chunky Chico’s jewelry to make him question everything. Isn’t that how it always works? Making Words and Pictures‘ entry in the romcom annals a little different from the rest is the inclusion of Juliette Binoche as the free-spirited but ever so grumpy foil to Clive Owen‘s hopeful, lovestruck professor.

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Blood Ties

Writer/director James Gray has explored brotherhood with real depth over his career. From We Own the Night to the  The Yards, Gray shows a deep understanding for unconditional love. He knows how to make cliches feel honest, like two brothers on the opposite sides of the law. Gray slyly subverted that idea in We Own the Night, a drama that went unnoticed in 2007. Blood Ties, which Gray co-wrote with the film’s director Guillaume Canet, will likely go unnoticed as well, but for very different reasons. Unlike We Own the Night, Canet’s film shows no interest in reinventing the wheel or putting down any personal stamp. When the protagonists at the center of Blood Ties make the tough decisions, Gray and Canet are unwilling to do the same with their by-the-number crime picture. Ever since Chris (Clive Owen) and Frank (Billy Crudup) were kids they’ve been different. Chris was the troublemaker of the two, while Frank followed the rules. Neither of them changed their ways as they grew older. At the start of the film Frank is released from prison. He’s been away so long that his kids, who are quickly pushed aside after one scene, don’t even recognize him. Chris can’t find a decent job, owes a ton in child support, and has to live with his brother, who’s now a straight and narrow cop.

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Blood Ties

James Gray has directed a total of five films over the past two decades, and while a movie every four years isn’t too shabby it’s also not quite a workmanlike pace either. He takes his time on personal projects like The Yards or divisive, subversive ones like We Own the Night. He’s an American filmmaker we don’t talk about often enough, but 2014 may change all that seeing as he’s attached in varying capacity to two different films. April will see the release of his latest directorial effort, The Immigrant, and a month earlier a film he co-wrote, Blood Ties, will hit theaters. Both films premiered at the Cannes film festival last year, a festival that’s always welcomed Gray’s work, and our Shaun Munro was mixed on Blood Ties, calling its 144 minute runtime “wholly excessive – even counter-productive – to telling this story. Furthermore, though Blood Ties will be no doubt be marketed on the strength of its brief bursts of action, it is in retrospect difficult to see the film having much commercial appeal outside of getting butts in seats by way of trailer-based manipulation.” Shaun’s prediction has been proven correct, since the newly released trailer does lean heavily on its occasional bursts of action. Take a look at the possibly misleading trailer for Blood Ties below.

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Guillaume Canet earned the goodwill of many with his immensely potent 2006 thriller Tell No One, before the misjudged – and like this film, much too long – Little White Lies came along and eroded plenty of that promise. However, Canet returns with his latest feature, and the busload-full of skilled actors he has brought with him damn near ensures a compelling sit, even if the film’s ponderous pacing and resulting length do detract somewhat from its finer qualities. A remake of 2008’s French film Rivals – which starred Canet himself – Blood Ties begins in 1974 New York as Chris (Clive Owen) is released from prison after a 12-year-stint for murder. While welcomed warmly by his father (James Caan), Chris is received less so by his brother, Frank (Billy Crudup), a respected policeman who is nevertheless called upon by his family to take him in. Adding to the drama is the litany of anguished lovers sitting on the periphery; Chris shacks up with a gorgeous young receptionist named Monica (Mila Kunis), much to the chagrin of his drug-addled hooker ex-wife Monica (Marion Cotillard), while Frank continues to pine for a former flame he broke it off with, Vanessa (Zoe Saldana), whose current relationship with the dangerous Scarfo (Matthias Schoenaerts) is on the rocks.

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Clive and Mila

If the Cannes Film Festival is good for anything, it’s letting a select few people see great movies that the rest of us are going to have to wait months to get our eyeballs on. In one respect it’s a tantalizing glimpse at our film future, and in the other it’s a torturous tease that only gives us whispers about unattainable pleasures. Every once in a while a film debuting at Cannes will at least release a trailer around the same time though, so those of us not at the festival can get a taste of what we’re missing, and this seems to be the case with Guillaume Canet’s first English-language film as a director, Blood Ties. You should be warned that there’s some naughty language in the clip that lies below, but if that isn’t the sort of thing that offends you, then you’re going to want to click through and watch, because Blood Ties is a 70s-set crime drama that stars Clive Owen, Mila Kunis, Billy Crudup, Marion Cotillard, Zoe Saldana, Matthias Schoenaerts, and James Caan, and if you’re not willing to admit that you have a crush on at least a handful of those people, then you’re just a liar. A stinking liar.

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Shadow Dancer

“The bomb is an excellent image for Shadow Dancer. On its own, it rests on a table not harming anyone. It takes time and a catalyst to kill, but it’s the ticking that will drive you mad.” That’s from my review of James Marsh‘s IRA film at last year’s Berlinale where it calmly played out in spite of its incredibly dangerous web of deceits. In it, Collete McVeigh (Andrea Riseborough) becomes an informant to MI5 in order to protect her son. She’s the daughter/sister/aunt of an Irish family at the core of the bomb-placing terrorist organization (and Collete doesn’t have clean hands herself). Mac (Clive Owen) is the lawman who recruits her, placing her into a fearful position of living with those she betrays. As you can tell, every strand of that web is actually a fuse. Now the film has a smoldering trailer. Enjoy the intensity for yourself:

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Sandra Bullock

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news compilation that has word of a new action movie starring the Muscles From Brussels himself, JCVD. Buckle up. It seems like there’s always been a segment of the filmgoing audience that has something against Sandra Bullock. Maybe that’s because she teased everybody by starring in Demolition Man and Speed in the early ’90s and then went on to make a bunch of lame romantic comedies where she tries too hard to be goofy instead of doing more action stuff. Whatever the reason, she might finally be able to channel those bad tidings and use it in her next job, because Deadline Hollywood is reporting that the usually sugary-sweet actress is going to be voicing the new villain in the upcoming Despicable Me spinoff, Minions. As you may have guessed, she’ll be playing an evil lady who has her life ruined by her little, yellow, inept minions. This time it’s okay to hate, go ahead.

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Jack Reynor

What is Casting Couch? It’s a casting roundup that’s knee deep in nostalgia as it reports on movies based on comic books and toys from its childhood. Due to a little bit of inspiration from the Internet, Michael Bay gave Mark Wahlberg a pretty big part in his upcoming fourth Transformers movie. It’s always been understood that Wahlberg was playing a placeholder character though, who would pass the franchise off to a couple of young kids who would be pushed into the forefront as it went forward. Well, today Bay announced that he’s found the male half of this new duo. Apparently little known Irish actor Jack Reynor is his guy. Bay says that he saw Reynor in an Irish movie called What Richard Did, which a quick Googling tells me has nothing to do with acting opposite giant robots, so let’s all hope he knows what he’s talking about.

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Benedict Cumberbatch

What is Casting Couch? Today it’s a casting column that’s debunking a couple of rumors that will probably come true anyway. Absolutely Anything is a project that’s long been on comedy nerds’ radars, not only because it’s being directed by Monty Python member Terry Jones, but also because the film will see Jones re-teaming with the other members of his legendary comedy troupe to do voiceover work. According to The Wrap, filming is looking to get underway on this one soon, Gemma Arterton has joined the cast, and Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) is currently negotiating to come on board, as well. The story is about a bumbling but magical school teacher, something that Cumberbatch would likely knock out of the park; which is one more positive that will help you forget Robin Williams is also going to be doing his voiceover thing here.

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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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Hugh Laurie

Earlier this summer, word hit the wire that Hugh Laurie was in talks to play the villain in the upcoming remake of RoboCop, and there’s a reason why that news was never confirmed – because it’s not going to happen. Variety‘s Jeff Sneider tweeted the news last night, while also confirming that Laurie was never officially set for the role to begin with, writing “While he was never officially confirmed, sources telling Variety that HUGH LAURIE has ended talks to play villain in ROBOCOP. HUGH LAURIE definitely out of ROBOCOP reboot, not that he was ever ‘in.’” Laurie would have played the evil CEO of Omni Corp, the suitably shady corporation that helps turn Detroit cop Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) into RoboCop. Deadline Hollywood now reports that MGM is talking to other actors to fill the role, including Clive Owen. The José Padilha-directed film still has a great cast, including Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Abbie Cornish, Jennifer Ehle, Jackie Earle Haley, Jay Baruchel, Michael K. Williams, and Marianne Jean-Baptiste. The film is targeting a release date of August 9, 2013. [via /Film]

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Children of Men

Traditionally — such a tradition has been built over the 6 week lifespan of this column — Scenes We Love takes a moment each week to focus on a single scene from a film that jumps right out at us, grabs our attention and simply won’t let go. This week brings us something a little different, courtesy of an email I received by a gentleman named Larry Wright from a site called Refocused Media. He’s created a 31 minute cut of Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men using only the scenes that are 45-seconds or longer. Why would someone partake in such a maddening project? Well, I guess you’ll have to read on and find out.

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Apocalypse Soon: Children of Men

The Mayans, the wise race of ancients who created hot cocoa, set December 21st, 2012 as the end date of their Calendar, which the intelligent and logical amongst us know signifies the day the world will end, presumably at 12:21:12am, Mountain Time. From now until zero date, we will explore the 50 films you need to watch before the entire world perishes. We don’t have much time, so be content, be prepared, be entertained. The Film: Children of Men (2006) The Plot: In the near future global civilization is on the brink of total collapse as the human race approaches extinction via a long dry spell of human infertility. There hasn’t been a human child born in almost two decades and the answer for our sudden inability to bear children has been an elusive scientific mystery in all those years. In this world of societal discourse and upheaval Theo Faron (Clive Owen) is an everyman with ties to an underground group of revolutionaries through a past relationship with the group’s leader Julian (Julianne Moore). Kidnapped off the streets by the group Theo is asked by Julian to help attain transit papers for a young woman and help see that she crosses the British border to safety. Asking no questions of what the significance of that particular girl’s safety is Theo agrees and along the way to the first stop on their journey their vehicle gets ambushed. Following that event Theo’s initially loose involvement in the situation becomes more important when he takes […]

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A young Spanish boy named Juan crawls out his bedroom window in search of a mewling cat, but before he can catch it he sees a shrouded figure scale the outside wall and enter his bedroom. The boy rushes back through the window to find his mother being choked by the dark figure. He yells at the intruder who immediately turns his attention to the child and begins to approach… A young British girl named Mia (Ella Purnell) wakes in the middle of the night convinced that someone is watching her from the closet. She entreats her father to investigate, but he finds nothing until he sits on her bed in the dark trying to calm her nerves. She stares wide-eyed over his shoulder and whispers “He’s here.” Her father stands and turns just as a figure emerges from the closet… Juan’s mother (Pilar López de Ayala) struggles to help and even asks a friendly priest for an exorcism, but Father Antonio (Daniel Brühl) suspects the devil has little to do with the boy’s troubles. Mia’s father (Clive Owen) meanwhile finds himself battling the threatening visitor but his disbelieving wife (Carice van Houten) as well. What’s the connection between the faceless intruder haunting both Juan and Mia, and will their parents’ love be enough to stop the nightmare?

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Either the mulitple-impling title of Juan Carlos Fresnadillo‘s Intruders is not entirely apt, or marketing for the film is playing some serious tricks on us. Titles aside, the 28 Weeks Later helmer is back with a new horror flick that might just scare your face right off – or, if not yours, perhaps some of the film’s stars. The film sees Clive Owen as a dad whose creative 13-year-old daughter (Ella Purnell) tells her class a story about a scary, faceless creature that visits kids during the night. And then the creature (“Hollow Face”) just goes ahead and shows right up – at least, that’s how it looks in this new trailer. The film’s official synopsis explains the situation as such: “Though no one can see him, Hollow Face lurks in the corners, desperately desiring love but only knowing how to spread fear and hate…The line between the real and the imaginary blurs as fissures start to open within the family unit.” And while that’s terrifying enough, perhaps the film’s title is spot-on, because that same synopsis also tells us that this “is the chilling story of two children living in different countries, each visited nightly by a faceless being who wants to take possession of them.” So why are we only meeting Owen and Purnell? I wonder… Keep your eyes open and your mouth wide, and check out the new trailer for Intruders after the break.

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Collette McVeigh seems to be a fairly normal little girl, creating beaded necklaces and bribing her younger brother into running a quick errand for their father that she does not want to do herself. Unfortunately, this errand ends in tragedy, with her brother getting shot and killed. As her mother weeps over his body and her father fixes in on her with a look that could kill, Collette stands frozen, devastated. Shadow Dancer focuses on the life of a now grown-up Collette (Andrea Riseborough) who has a son of her own and is tied up in the “family business” (the IRA), rooted in taking down the English government which cost their brother his life.

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Drinking Games

One big action release on DVD and Blu-ray this week features Jason Statham, Robert De Niro, Clive Owen and Clive Owen’s mustache. The film Killer Elite is based on a true story about a secret agency that arranged assassinations in the early 80s. It also features a lot of 80s porno-era facial hair, which should be a treat for everyone. While the film misses the chance to have Jason Statham and Clive Owen have a street race to see whether the Transporter or BMW’s The Driver is better behind the wheel, but at least it gives “tough guy” movie fans a chance to see some icons together on the same screen. For everyone else, it offers a great chance to participate in a drinking game.

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Tim & Eric

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly collection of things you’ll want to read, even if they didn’t originate on this website. We know, we know, all the good stuff can only come from Film School Rejects. But every once in a while (at least 8 times per day), other websites strike gold. And we’re here to celebrate their modest victories. We begin tonight with an image from Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, one of a number released today by Magnolia Pictures. It features Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim as… well, I have no idea what’s going on in this picture. But apparently people find this funny. Having watched numerous episodes of their show, I’m not convinced that they’ve ever been funny. But who am I to argue with the masses? Oh right, I do argue with the masses. Seriously, guys, this stuff isn’t funny. At all.

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Clive Owen

Clive Owen is an actor who has impressed me in the past with both his inherent charisma (in movies like Closer) and the level of his dramatic chops (in things like Children of Men). I like seeing him in roles where he really gets to show off and make some bold choices with his performance. So it’s been disappointing to me that recently he’s been playing stone faced soldiers, secret agents, and hit men in things like Killer Elite and The International. All of these tough guy action roles just kind of blend together in my mind and unfortunately Variety is reporting that Owen has just signed onto another one that you can throw onto the pile.

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


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