Colin Firth

20th Century Fox

Over the course of director Matthew Vaughn‘s career his love for James Bond has rang loud and clear. In Vaughn’s debut feature, Layer Cake, the suave anti-hero, XXXX (Daniel Craig), wields an old-fashioned gun with an ultra-cool pose that, for anyone who saw the film before Casino Royale, made Craig seem like an obvious contender for Bond. In the audio commentary for Layer Cake Vaughn mentions how XXXX, during that scene, “wants to be Bond.” Not only does XXXX want to be Bond, but Matthew Vaughn clearly wants — or wanted — to direct Bond. Now Vaughn has gotten his way by making a film that’s about as close one can get to Ian Fleming’s English spy. With Kingsman: The Secret Service, Vaughn has basically directed his own Bond picture, except without any self-seriousness, an anguished hero, or other modern Bond staples.

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Sony Pictures Classics

Since time immemorial Woody Allen has been entranced by the art of illusions. A proponent of magic tricks as a child, Allen’s affinity for legerdemain has manifested itself throughout his filmography — most notable in his surreal homage to Federico Fellini, Stardust Memories. Now with Magic in the Moonlight the nebbish New Yorker has pulled off yet another impressive act of prestidigitation: making a jubilant and delightful trifle that — much like many of his other 44 films — ponders the rhyme and reason of our existence, however futile or fruitful that may be. To Stanley (Colin Firth) our existence is meaningless. In order to remain comfortable in that unrepentantly bleak worldview, he’s made a career out of exposing pseudo spiritualists — opportunistic swindlers who dupe people into believing they possess divine powers bestowed to them by some omniscient deity. The Englishman’s latest assignment is to debunk the mythical Sophie (Emma Stone), a young American woman who has convinced everyone around her that she’s, as one character exclaims, “a visionary and a vision.”

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Paddington

Creepy or not (and, yes, we still vote “not”), the upcoming Paddington Bear feature film, simply called Paddington, like he’s Cher or Madonna or another one-named pop star, is now in need of something pretty crucial: someone to voice the traveling Peruvian teddy bear. Entertainment Weekly reports that star Colin Firth (that would be “the thoroughly British” actor who, at least on paper, sounds like a nice fit for the curious bear with an exceedingly British fashion sense) has left the project, leaving the animated bear without a voice. Okay, now that is actually creepy. Firth, who will be forgiven for referring to the decision to part ways as a “conscious uncoupling” in a statement to the outlet, shares that he’s left the project for a seemingly simple reason — because he’s just not right for the part. Again, Colin Firth is the wrong person to play an animated teddy bear. Noted. Consider his offer to play Pooh in the next (totally fictional and only exists in our minds) Winnie the Pooh outing rescinded.

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Paddington

If nothing else, the Internet will take what you love and maim it. This week’s Paddington-centric meme proves it, and while it would be a bald-faced lie to say that the rapidly rising #creepypaddington Twitter trend isn’t at least somewhat amusing, it does handily demonize a beloved member of my own personal childhood imagination. An anthropomorphic British bear in a kicky little raincoat? What else could you possibly want in a kids lit hero? How could you make that seem evil? Paddington would never hurt you! Paddington is about to make his leap to the big screen with Paddington, where the throughly British (but actually Peruvian) real-life teddy bear will be voice by the thoroughly (and actually) British Colin Firth. Paddington is an origin story, which shares the tale of how Paddington, a forest bear, makes his way to the big city in hopes of finding some adventure and excitement. What he finds is disappointment, until the charming Brown family takes him in (and takes the note around his neck, which reads, ““Please look after this bear. Thank you,” quite seriously) and all sorts of lovely things happen. I am getting teary already. Just look at the film’s first full-length trailer while I gather myself:

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CBS Films

Even the Coen Brothers deliver a dud on occasion, but the films usually still have something going for them. That isn’t the case with their penned remake of Gambit, directed by Michael Hoffman. It’s sad to say, but Gambit is like some fan aped their style in service of their flimsy idea of remaking Gambit. Replacing Michael Caine as Harry Deane is Colin Firth, playing a dweeby, undervalued Englishman. For years he’s suffered at the hands of his intolerable nudist boss, Lionel Shahbandar (Alan Rickman). To stick it to the art collecting Lionel, Harry decides to pull a fast one on him. Deane’s con involves pretending he’s found a famous painting by chance, owned by a small town American woman, PJ Punznowski (Cameron Diaz). Everything sounds so perfect in his head, but once he involves the unpredictable Punznowski his plan becomes less and less promising. Unfortunately, so does the film.

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


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