Daniel Barber

The Keeping Room

“War is cruelty,” Daniel Barber‘s The Keeping Room reminds us as the Civil War-set film begins to unspool, thanks to a pre-credits coda that shares one of Union Army General William Tecumseh Sherman’s most memorable quotes about war in general and the American Civil War specifically. (Sherman is also credited for such bangers as “war is a terrible thing!” and “if they want eternal war, well and good” and yes, even the inimitable “war is hell” — for a lauded general, Sherman sure hated war a lot.) War is indeed cruelty, and although Barber drives that point home (again and again), The Keeping Room does it with grace, care and an appealing spirit that place it a cut above other war-set films that don’t involve a battle field-set rager. Penned by Julia Hart (the film is the screenwriter’s first feature, and what a fine start it is), The Keeping Room chronicles what happens to people during war — specifically, female people — when their lives are irrevocably changed even if they don’t actually go into battle. They’re still at war, even if they’re not expected to literally fight alongside their countrymates. It’s just a different kind of war. Left alone on their farm (the film only specifies that it’s set somewhere in “the American South”), sisters Augusta (Brit Marling) and Louise (Hailee Steinfeld) are forced to fend for themselves alongside their single slave Mad (Muna Otaru). Survival isn’t easy, and the women spend the majority of their time hunting and gathering food, sitting morosely and trying to keep a creeping fear at bay. […]

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Frank Grillo

What is Casting Couch? Today it’s the way to get news regarding all of those upcoming super hero sequels. Tomorrow it might be something else. Though we’ve still yet to have the pleasure of taking in the first two installments of Marvel’s super hero movie Phase II, Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is already coming up in 2014, so it’s probably about time we started hearing some casting news. And, wouldn’t you know it, Variety brings us just that. Not only has the trade revealed that End of Watch, The Grey, and Warrior star Frank Grillo will be joining the cast as the Red Skull’s brutal henchman Crossbones, but they also have news that some familiar SHIELD faces from The Avengers will be showing back up in Cap’s second solo adventure. More specifically, Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, Cobie Smulders’ Agent Maria Hill, and Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff will all be coming back. You remember them, right?

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