Colin Firth

Colin Firth in Devil

Devil’s Knot is in a bit of a pickle. A new trailer for the film just debuted online, tempting audiences with two minutes’ worth of Colin Firth speaking in a Southern twang. But two hours’ worth of the same premiered at last fall’s Toronto International Film Festival, and the results were… well, less than stellar. So director Atom Egoyan and Devil’s Knot must peddle their wares, knowing all too well that the typing of a mere two words — “Rotten Tomatoes” — can all but obliterate the goodwill generated from Colin Firth saying “y’all.”

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paddington_poster

“If you see something, say something.” It’s a simple rule. Unattended packages are a matter for the authorities — they could be stuffed full of explosives, chemical weaponry, or even vicious Peruvian wildlife intent on draining Great Britain’s marmalade reserves dry. Yet the first teaser for Paddington flies in the face of public transportation’s basic safety procedures. There’s London’s Paddington Railway Station, and right smack in the middle of the platform is an unattended package. One large enough to comfortably fit an adorable stuffed bear. Clearly, multiple passersby must have seen something. Yet not a single one said something. Shameful. Paddington is a cautionary tale of Britain’s undocumented immigrant bears, and the damage they’ve been doing to the nation’s economy. Or, if the film’s synopsis can be believed, it’s the tale of a wayward stuffed bear who’s taken in by a kind family, all while being stalked by an evil taxidermist (Nicole Kidman). Presumably, she’s after the secret of how a stuffed animal can walk and talk and consume so much marmalade without being beset upon by ants.

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Liam Neeson Taken 2

The new act in Liam Neeson’s career that began with 2008′s Taken has made it hard to remember that he was in stuff like Kinsey just a couple years before that. It turns out, Liam Neeson killing lots of people is exactly what the movie-going public needs this time of year, after a long winter and irritating award-season political sniping. Now Kevin Costner is getting in on the act, with 3 Days To Kill, from EuropaCorp, the company behind Taken and such other notable titles as the Transporter series. It remains to be seen whether Costner’s effort will meet with Neeson-like glorious success or falter like EuropaCorp’s John Travolta (From Paris With Love) and Zoe Saldana (Colombiana) vehicles. Until then, let’s consider 11 actors we’d like to see go the Neeson route:

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Bridget Jones

The clues were laid out way back in May, thanks to the release of both a new title and a first cover image from Brit chick lit author Helen Fielding’s upcoming “Bridget Jones: Man About the Boy.” The cover featured not only that head-scratching title (what boy, Bridget?) but also the first of apparently many dating tips from Bridget – this one advising “Do Not Text When Drunk” and reading, “You see, this is the trouble with the modern world. If it was the days of letter-writing, I would never even have started to find his address, a pen, a piece of paper, an envelope, a stamp, and gone outside at 11.30 p.m. to find a postbox. A text is gone at the brush of a fingertip, like a nuclear bomb or Exocet missile.” For fans of Fielding’s books and the accompanying two Renee Zellweger-starring films about her goofy, doofy, hilarious, and utterly nutty heroine, the news that Jones would be mad about a “boy” and worrying about text messages was worrying indeed. We were right to worry. A new article from the UK’s Sunday Times lays it plain – Bridget is indeed texting a “boy,” because the consistent romantic heroine from both the books and the films, Mark Darcy (played by Colin Firth in the films), is dead. Hilarious. The paper doesn’t mince words, leading off the article with a firm proclamation: “Mark Darcy is dead; Bridget Jones is a widow. The long-awaited third diary of the world’s most famous singleton […]

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trailer the railway man

Another film currently showing in Toronto, but one that we haven’t heard too much about is Jonathan Teplitzky‘s The Railway Man. And why is that? Based on the first official trailer, the film has all the trappings for commercial success: Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Stellan Skarsgard, WWII and a bevy of emotions to keep you invested in hearing this story play out. Firth plays Eric Lomax, a WWII soldier captured in Singapore and held in a Japanese POW camp, where he and his fellow soldiers were brutally tortured after they refused to help build the Thai-Burma Railway. Flash forward to after the war, when Firth has survived and is trying desperately to find a sense of normalcy in life and overcome what happened in the camp – which his wife (Kidman) wants to understand in some way. Coping for Lomax appears to partly means tracking down his captor and dishing out what he was served. Check out the trailer below.

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devils_knot

Four highly publicized documentaries in, it should go without saying that the West Memphis Three ordeal has taken up its fair share of screentime. The necessity for a narrative feature is a questionable one, and despite the potential promise of Atom Egoyan’s Devil’s Knot, the film ultimately stands as a prime example why the story shouldn’t be adapted into a narrative feature – at least not a narrative feature this lazy and uninteresting as this one. Even with a cast that includes Reese Witherspoon, Colin Firth, Kevin Durand, Dane DeHaan, Bruce Greenwood, Amy Ryan, and Mireille Enos, Egoyan has delivered one of the worst big screen takes on a true story of this magnitude in quite some time, an eye-popping failure of both execution and emotion. Egoyan fails to engage with not only his audience but also the actual material he’s attempting to portray on screen, making Devil’s Knot one of the year’s most disappointing misfires.

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devils-knot

Courtesy of EW comes this first, small look at Atom Egoyan‘s Devil’s Knot, the dramatization of the horrible tale of the West Memphis Three, a trio of teenage boys who were convicted in the 1993 murders of three eight year-old boys despite a lack of evidence. Though the incident has been the subject of several documentaries, this is the first time their story has come to the big screen as a factual, but fictionalized drama based on a 2002 nonfiction book of the same name by Mara Leveritt. Colin Firth is front and center in the only two stills released, and handsome as the man is, they’re not giving us much to work with before the film’s premiere at TIFF. Firth plays Ron Lax, a private investigator who worked to find DNA evidence that proved the three teens may not have committed the heinous crimes. In the first image, Firth appears on his massive ’90s brick phone, chatting about important PI business, while in the second, he sits in the courtroom with another investigator (Collette Wolfe) looking like they both just heard some bad news.

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Austenland

Editor’s note: Kate’s review originally ran during this year’s Sundance Film Festival, but we’re re-running it as the film opens in limited theatrical release this weekend. Obsession with fictional literary heroes is nothing new, but Austenland’s Jane Hayes (Keri Russell) has taken her love for Jane Austen’s (again, fictional) Mr. Darcy and the Regency-era world he (as written in a fictional novel) inhabited in Austen’s (still fictional, Jane) “Pride & Prejudice” to new lows. While the source material for Jerusha Hess’s film, Shannon Hale’s very popular novel of the same name, found its heroine focusing her attentions on a still more fake Darcy – the one played by Colin Firth in the also very popular but not entirely true to Austen’s work BBC miniseries version of “Pride & Prejudice” – Hess wisely expands Jane’s obsession to apply more thoroughly to the rest of Austen’s work and her Regency Era. It is perhaps one of the few wise choices made in service to the adaptation, as Hess’s film, though frequently funny, is almost disastrously goofy and doofy, headed up by a poorly-drawn leading lady who, had she not been played by someone as lovely as Russell, would be the target of scorn by everyone she meets. We quickly learn that Russell’s Jane has been obsessed with Mr. Darcy for most of her life, with Hess kicking off the film with an amusing sequence of flashbacks that show Jane progressing through her teen years and on into adulthood with a moony-eyed stare […]

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jackson

Matthew Vaughn’s Secret Service is an upcoming comic book adaptation that boasts a good deal of pedigree already. Not only is it going to star Colin Firth, who is one of the best performers ever to sign on to lead a movie based on a comic, but it’s also got a whole host of other people who have seen great success in the comic book world bringing it to life, pretty much from top to bottom. Vaughn, of course, already earned quite a bit of praise for reviving the beleaguered X-Men Franchise with X-Men: First Class. Michael Caine, who was one of the prominent players in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight franchise, is said to be on board to play the head of the agency that Firth’s character works for. Mark Millar, the guy who wrote the comic the film is going to be based on, is already known for being the creator of Kick-Ass. And, heck, even the artist who worked on Millar’s book and has likely inspired many of the visuals of this new project, Dave Gibbons, is already a comic book legend because he’s the man who drew “Watchmen.” What else could be done to make this movie look like any more of a sure thing? How about adding the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. into the mix?

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costnerdrunk

What is Casting Couch? It’s a gathering together of casting news from all across the Internet. Today we finally, finally know who Disney has cast as the lead of their new version of Cinderella. It seems like just yesterday Kevin Costner was playing sleazy baseball players and checking little girls for tattoos of the map to dry land, but now he’s going to be a grandfather. Deadline is reporting that the veteran actor is all set to re-team with his Upside of Anger director, Mike Binder, to star in a new film called Black and White. The story will see Costner’s character taking care of his bi-racial granddaughter after both his daughter and his wife die due to tragic accidents. If all of that isn’t already bad enough, more trouble comes along when the baby’s paternal grandmother comes along and wants to take the kid away from him. Sounds like he’s going to have to lay on some of that patented Costner charm to get through this one.

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foxxwarbucks

What is Casting Couch? A new day, a new set of casting updates. And—you guys—you’re going to want to pay attention to this one. We’ve got Michael Fassbender news. One of the most memorable characters from the ‘Little Orphan Annie’ comic strips was Annie’s father figure, benefactor, and get out of jail free card, Daddy Warbucks. Warbucks was a man of means, said to be worth upwards of “ten zillion dollars,” but he was a self-made man who always preached the importance of working hard and putting back into the free market. If an actor were going to adequately portray Warbucks in a film adaptation of the Annie story, he would necessarily have to bring all kinds of swagger. That’s probably why Will Gluck is looking at Jamie Foxx to play a version of the character in his upcoming take on the Annie property. THR is reporting that Foxx is currently in negotiations to join Quvenzhane Wallis in the film as Benjamin Stacks, an even more absurdly named update on the Warbucks concept. This one’s definitely got Jay-Z’s fingerprints all over it.

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arthurnewman_02

While we can’t be certain that no one was crying out for a film starring an American-accented Colin Firth as a sadsack having a midlife crisis, it’s certainly possible that someone was asking for such a film. Somewhere. Maybe. Yet, here it is - Arthur Newman (good luck remembering that name in two years) stars Firth as a down-on-his-luck loser who can’t quite get anything in his life right, so he decides to chuck it, assume a new identity, go on the road, and ultimately take up with a lovely lady (Emily Blunt, also playing weirdly American here) who is also into petty crimes and such. The pair start breaking into other peoples’ houses, playing around with their stuff, and moving on to the next one (at least Arthur Newman can pick up some sort of award for Year’s Best Far and Away Cosplay), purely for funsies. Will they fall in love? Will they bicker? Will secrets be revealed? Come on now. Watch Artie get his groove back with the first Arthur Newman trailer, after the break.

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Michael Keaton

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news round-up that’s been rich with reports all week thanks to deals coming out of Berlin. Also, today we find out what Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman are teaming up for next. There was a period in the ’80s where Michael Keaton may have been the most famous man on the planet, and everything just seemed to be in its right place. While he’s worked fairly steadily ever since, it just never seems like we get to see him in enough movies these days, so every new announcement ends up being exciting. The latest, from Heat Vision, is that Keaton has joined the cast of that video game-inspired car chase movie, Need For Speed. According to the trade, he’ll be playing the eccentric host of an underground race that attracts all the best drivers from around the world—sort of like the Kumite, but with wheels doing burnouts instead of feet kicking faces. Hopefully this affords Keaton plenty of opportunity to snort and chomp gum.

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Saoirse Ronan

What is Casting Couch? It’s just trying to cram its foot into this shoe. Just last week, we learned that Cate Blanchett was likely to be Mark Romanek’s wicked stepmother in the new Cinderella movie that he’s doing for Disney, and now Variety gives us word that the project is closing in on its Cinderella as well. According to the trade, Atonement actress Saoirse Ronan, Anna Karenina actress Alicia Vikander, and The Three Musketeers’ Gabriella Wilde have all been in to see Romanek for screen tests. So, clearly, the sweet spot for getting this role is to have an interesting accent and some period work under your belt. Keira Knightley better watch her back, because it looks like there’s a whole upcoming generation of ladies gunning for her roles.

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What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news roundup that’s ready for the weekend. Colin Firth is kind of a sneaky hunk. At first glance he’s pretty handsome, but not the most attractive dude in the world, and then he’s got this charm to him that just grows on you until you’ve scrawled his name on all of your Trapper Keepers. He’s such saucy dish that it looks like he can make even a big name star like Nicole Kidman develop a schoolgirl crush. THR is reporting that she liked playing his wife in the recent World War II drama The Railway Man so much that she’s now actively recruiting him to join her in her next project, Before I Go to Sleep. Apparently, Before I Go to Sleep is an adaptation of a S.J. Watson novel about an amnesiac woman whose husband must reintroduce himself to her every morning. Early attempts at titling the film The Rich Man’s 50 First Dates were reportedly rejected by the studio.

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Sean Penn

What is Casting Couch? It’s a daily casting column that isn’t stalking Maria Bello. It swears. Sean Penn has been one of Hollywood’s top actors for decades now, but he’s never really been the sort of performer who stars in big budget blockbusters. Doesn’t he deserve to have his own action franchise already? Well, if his latest project takes off at the box office, he might get it. THR reports that Penn has signed on to star in an adaptation of one of French crime novelist Jean-Patrick Manchette’s books, “The Prone Gunman,” where he will play a badass spy type who gets betrayed by his organization and ends up getting chased all across Europe in a deadly game of cat and mouse. Think of it as being like Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire, only starring an actor.

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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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Gambit 2012 Movie

In the original Gambit, Michael Caine went up against the great Herbert Lom, but in the updated version, it’s Colin Firth attempting to pull one over on Alan Rickman. It’s a little bit like Ocean’s One, and instead of a dancer played by Shirley MacLaine, we get a Southern stereotype played by Cameron Diaz. Fortunately, everyone drops their pants in the trailer. The movie was written by The Coen Brothers and directed by Michael Hoffman (The Last Station, Soapdish), so it’s definitely got a pedigree. However there’s just something flat about this particular piece of marketing. Something sort of tired and silly without being funny. Check it out for yourself:

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Atom Egoyan‘s upcoming drama based on the real-life tragedy of the West Memphis 3, Devil’s Knot, has been quite slowly accumulating cast members, with news on each new member of the production trickling out over the course of many months. Reese Witherspoon joined the cast in December as Pam Hobbs, the mother of victim Stevie Branch, and Colin Firth signed on in February to play Ron Lax, a private eye who offered his services to the WM3 before their trial in 1993. While the project itself was announced all the way back in August, with such delicate material to cover, perhaps Egoyan is taking his time in picking his cast (what an idea!). Devil’s Knot has now added its third major cast member, and it is indeed a delicate role that is being filled – Deadline Seattle reports that The Killing star Mireille Enos will play Vicki Hutcheson in the film. Those who are familiar with the WM3 tragedy and trials surely know Hutcheson’s name – she became a key witness during the 1993 investigation into the murders of children Branch, Michael Moore, and Christopher Byers, a witness who later recanted her statements. The film continues the Golden Globe-nominated actress’ foray into features – she will next be seen in Gangster Squad and World War Z.

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Reel Sex

As we approach Valentine’s Day (yes, it’s just a few days away) I think it’s only fitting that the topic of romance come into play in anticipation of the day meant to celebrate all things feelings. I’m not sure about you, but I have actually never celebrated Valentine’s Day with a loved one not related to me. Instead I spend the day (or week) loading up on conversational hearts, Reese Peanut Butter cups, and a collection of melodramas so depressing I become skeptical that love can actually end in anything but death. Regardless of my tendency to eat my feelings while crying over the tragic love found in Douglas Sirk films, I do enjoy happy love stories and tend to pair the sadder movies with some of my must-have romances. In honor of the big V-Day, I’d like to share my favorite 14 romantic scenes and also open it up the floor to hear your suggestions as well. Here are my concluding seven romantic scenes to last week’s first half of this list. Bring out the smelling salts; you might need them after all these swoons.

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