Elizabeth Olsen

Avengers Age of Ultron Set

The camera zooms in on a hectic street scene as percussion-soaked discordant rhythms elevate your blood pressure. An eerie green sail is lifted to tribal beats. A human the size of an ant side steps the rubble and faces forward. Everything is blurry at first, but as the clouds begin to lift, we can finally recognize a figure efficiently, almost poetically, hosing down a street. Is it a commentary on the deep dichotomy between the hurry up and wait boredom of a movie set and the end product made of pure excitement? Is it a mirror held up to our own voracious fan tendencies? Is it an indictment of movie website culture where bold names are heralded daily and ad nauseam no matter how uninteresting their latest still shot or promotional video may be? Undoubtedly, yes. Like Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle,” Mattia Renaldo (the well-respected video artist who’s dabbled in special effects-laced political commentary) has gone behind the scenes of Avengers: Age of Ultron in order to show us how the spandex sausage is made. Not content simply to show filmmaking at its most naked, he’s placed intense backing music to underscore and parody how thrilling we often imagine the creative process to be, despite the eye-gougingly dull reality. The juxtaposition is striking in every frame.

read more...

Very Good Girls Trailer

It’s possible that bad films — the kind that inspire rage and blackout anger and sputtering misunderstanding — can grow on you. It happens all the time. Even a film like Bachelorette, which sent me into a rage haze back at 2012’s Sundance Film Festival, does’t rile me up so much anymore, and I’ve even come around on the ballsiness of the film, even if it didn’t “work” for me and even if I don’t think it actually earned all its ugliness. Another Sundance film, from just one year later, doesn’t fare quite as well in memory, however. Naomi Foner‘s Very Good Girls actually has some stuff in common with Bachelorette – it’s a movie about friendship for people who hate their friends, or who at least grow to over the course of one hell of a formulaic outing. Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen star in the feature as life-long best pals who form a pact (lose their virginities before heading off to college!), only to find it (and their relationship) thrown for a loop when they both set their sights on the same dude, played by Boyd Holbrook. An obvious storyline, complete with shocking!! (read: not shocking) other developments pushes the film haltingly along, until everyone feels kind of bad and really unfulfilled. And now it’s got a trailer! Let’s take a peek.

read more...

Bryan Cranston in Godzilla

It’s obvious why director Gareth Edwards was chosen to helm another American reboot of Godzilla. His feature debut Monsters showed he could achieve spectacle on the cheap, build a convincing world inhabited by monsters, and, best of all, fill that world with compelling characters. It was a human story that happened to have monsters looming in the background. With Godzilla, it’s a shame it’s not the other away around, because the stunning CG creatures are far more entertaining than the humans they play second fiddle to. That’s unfortunate for many reasons, including the film’s very promising prologue. Bryan Cranston and Juliette Binoche play Joe and Sandra Brody (in what’s likely a nice nod to Jaws), a married team who work together in a Japanese power plant. Sandra is checking on an electrical problem when a massive accident happens, causing the destruction of the power plant, the evacuation of the city, and her death. Fifteen years later, their son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is living in San Francisco with his wife Elle (Elizabeth Olsen). He’s in the military, so he’s been away from home for a little while, but he returns only to learn that his father has been arrested in Japan, which means reluctantly flying across the world to help. When Ford gets there, Joe strikes him as the same paranoid lunatic he remembers from growing up, but this time his father has proof there was a cover-up of the real cause of the disaster that killed Ford’s mother. That cause? Monsters. Not Godzilla, though, who the film wisely plays as the misunderstood hero he is.

read more...

Oldboy

Few people would ever accuse Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy of being subtle cinema, but Spike Lee’s remake of the 2003 feature smashes any lingering vestiges of the restrained right into the ground with a bloody, looming hammer. Strangely enough, the opening credits of Oldboy provide some insight into the feature itself – this is “a Spike Lee film,” not “a Spike Lee joint,” and it’s “based on the Korean film,” not “based on Park Chan-wook’s film” or “based on Garon Tsuchiya’s manga.” This is not a unique feature and even its own director isn’t interested in putting his signature touch on it. As with Chan-wook’s film, Oldboy centers on a seemingly regular man who is abducted, thrown into a prison-like hotel room for two decades, and framed for the heinous murder of his ex-wife. Josh Brolin is effective enough in the role, and he’s got the fiery anger and unswerving drive element of his character down pat. Emotions not fueled by rage and revenge aren’t quite his forte, at least here, but those don’t really come into play into further down the line. For the first act of the film, he’s just about perfect. Brolin’s Joe Doucett is a flabby, drunk loser who thinks that a smooth-talking attitude will help him succeed at work (it won’t) and just yelling about things to his beleaguered ex-wife will get her to shut up (it also won’t). He’s unsympathetic, but he certainly doesn’t deserve his punishment (or, well, does he?).

read more...

news oldboy1

For many years now a potential remake of Park Chan-wook‘s Oldboy has been striking fear into the hearts of fans. No matter the level of talent involved, scoffs were heard loud and clear around the Internet. Why remake such a recent classic? Probably because, outside of cinephiles, it’s not exactly well known. But that’s beside the point. Even when Steven Spielberg flirted with the project, fan interest remained low, which is a shame because when Spielberg really likes to get cruel as a filmmaker, it’s pretty spectacular. Like Justin Lin and others, Spielberg eventually moved on, as did one-time potential star Will Smith. However, someone who stayed with the project through the years is screenwriter/co-producer Mark Protosevich. Protosevich, who scripted The Cell and chunks of I Am Legend, has always been a serious cheerleader for this remake. I say remake, because, despite what Spike Lee and others tell you, Oldboy is definitely a remake, not a reinterpretation. There’s nothing wrong with that, and Protosevich, he doesn’t treat “remake” as a dirty word either.

read more...

elizabeth-olsen-cannes-festival-25

At the end of August, Elizabeth Olsen was reported to be in final negotiations to play Scarlet Witch for Avengers: Age of Ultron. According to Samuel L. Jackson, those final talks are now finalized. Here’s what he told The Wall Street Journal: “I don’t think we begin shooting before March of next year. I know we’re shooting in London, that James Spader is Ultron and going to be the bad guy, and that we added Ms. [Elizabeth] Olsen [who will play the Scarlet Witch], but I don’t know what she’s doing, if she’s on the inside or the outside. I haven’t seen a script.” Not only is it great news that she’s definitely in the film, I also like to think that Jackson will continue not seeing a script until the day he shoots. Or never. I want to believe Jackson rolls up in his own good time, knocks out some signature cool, breaks some people’s concentration and then heads back to smash mailboxes with Snoop Lion. Obviously the guy is a dependable workhorse actor with a metric ton of professionalism under his belt, but it’s the scenario I like to imagine. With this reassurance on the table, the next question is whether Aaron Taylor-Johnson is going to indeed be Quicksilver — Witch’s brother and the other new addition to the franchise — or whether the role is going to someone else. As they push toward filming in the spring, look for a lot of new information to come out.

read more...

elizabeth-olsen-cannes-festival-25

We’ve known for months that Scarlet Witch and her brother Quicksilver would be newest addition to the Avengers in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Aaron Taylor-Johnson has been circling the Quicksilver role for what feels like years, but it looks like his superheroine sister has beaten him to the punch. Elizabeth Olsen, the younger (and far more talented) sister of the Olsen twins and star of Martha Marcy May Marlene and the upcoming Oldboy and Godzilla reboots, is now in final talks for the role. Scarlet Witch (who, along with her brother Quicksilver, have been a members of the Avengers since the 1960’s) has one of the most bizarre superpowers in Marvel Comics – specifically, the ability to cast hexes and manipulate probabilities. That sounds excruciatingly dull, I know; normally it translated into magically wishing bad luck upon her opponents via collapsing floors, exploding gas mains or misfiring weapons. In recent years she’s been upgraded a few times, to the extent that she can now alter the very fabric of reality.

read more...

news oldboy1

It’s been a mere two days since we last received new Oldboy pics, but images from Spike Lee‘s latest joint just keep pouring in. Collider‘s gotten their hands on four new ones, including a tease of one of the original film’s gooiest, grossest moments. A lot of this we’ve either seen before, like the hallway hammer fight (which was glimpsed in the trailer) or Josh Brolin‘s character holding a Chinese take-out carton (which presumably will take the place of the original’s dumplings). Brolin staring longingly into an octopus, however, is brand new stuff. Chan-wook Park’s original Oldboy infamously saw its lead actor consume a live octopus in a sushi bar. The octopus was both real and really alive (before being crammed unceremoniously down Min-sik Choi’s throat), and four octopi had to sacrifice their lives to nail the right take. There’s no word yet whether Brolin will committing his own act of mollusk genocide or if Lee has some plan to reinvent the now-notorious sequence. Perhaps this image is all we’ll get on the subject; with the Korean delicacy being offered but Brolin’s character tongue-in-cheekily turning it down. Keep reading to see three more pics.

read more...

Oldboy

Spike Lee‘s remake of Oldboy, Chan-wook Park‘s 2003 story of a man imprisoned in a hotel room for 20 years for no rhyme or reason and then suddenly released for just the same, is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated films of the year. While the red-band trailer gave us all of the gore and revenge fantasy imagery our greasy little hearts could desire, these new stills released from the film, courtesy of Huffington Post, are offering us something a bit more subtle to work with, albeit still powerful. The first shot of Joe Doucett (Josh Brolin) emerging from his classy steamer trunk to fresh air and freedom for the first time in 20 years is incredibly powerful. He looks tiny, like a doll inside of a suitcase forgotten in that field. This image of Brolin bursting from the casket used on the poster, but it’s his more revenge-happy, confident persona leaping out, rather than crawling that they decided to depict. Two other images show Brolin’s character while he’s still being held captive in Hotel Hell, sporting some Castaway-level facial hair. The fourth still introuduces our heroine Elizabeth Olsen, who plays the young therapist who attempts to help Doucett cope with his situation post-captivity. She deserves that cigarette mightily. Check them out after the break.

read more...

god

Roland Emmerich‘s Godzilla was somewhat of a disaster. Not in how it was another “disaster movie” from Emmerich, but in terms of pure banality. With such a wonderfully iconic monster, the end result wasn’t what it should’ve been. Even the design of the creature felt all wrong. It’s been 15 years since we’ve seen Godzilla on a canvas that big and, despite the box office success of Emmerich’s film, we (thankfully) haven’t had to sit through more of that Godzilla interpretation. With next summer’s reboot, director Gareth Edwards (Monsters) doesn’t want to simply make another piece of disaster porn. He’ll have Godzilla, and plenty of other monsters, roaming the world, but during the film’s Comic-Con preview over the weekend, Edwards appeared far more interested in the characters we’ll see played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston, and Elizabeth Olsen. For Edwards, in addition some realistic camerawork, the three of them are what will ground this movie. If you want to know more about how Edwards grounded this monster pic and what to expect come next summer, here’s what Edwards and the cast had to say about the film at Comic-Con:

read more...

Oldboy 2013

Ever since it went into development , the question of, “Why remake Oldboy?” has floated around like dumbfounded wildfire. Even when Steven Spielberg became involved, fans remained unconvinced in the need or desire for a new take on Chan-wook Park‘s revenge film. Spike Lee‘s name won over some fans, and why wouldn’t it? Lee is a director whose work is inherently American. If anyone can bend that material enough to breathe in some seedy American streets, it’s going to be the filmmaker behind 25th Hour and Do the Right Thing. Whether the film will feature some sort of commentary is up in the air, but one thing is for sure based on the first red band trailer for the film, this looks like Lee’s most focused film in years:

read more...

Oldboy Poster 2013

  Brimming with impenetrability, the first poster for Spike Lee‘s take on Oldboy features Josh Brolin dressed as Neo, making his escape from a steamer trunk in the middle of a field while Elizabeth Olsen (or Sharlto Copley with shaved legs) stands poignantly facing the other way. Its premiere is a preamble to a trailer release which will most likely happen this week (*cough*Wednesday*cough*) — so we’ll finally get to see how Lee  and screenwriter Mark Protosevich plan to tell the story (and how much hammer-wielding takes place). While you wait, stare at this until the yellow umbrella dissolves into symbolism or you go cross-eyed.

read more...

poster oldboy spike lee

Director Spike Lee‘s upcoming Oldboy is viewed as a remake of Park Chan-wook’s brilliant 2003 film, but in reality it’s a new adaptation of the original source material, a graphic novel by Nobuaki Minegishi. The story remains the same, though. A man (Josh Brolin) is kidnapped and imprisoned for twenty years with no clue as to his captor’s motive or identity. He’s inexplicably released one day and given a limited amount of time to discover the answers to all of his questions, but he may not like what he finds. In fact, he most definitely won’t like what he finds. Oldboy co-stars Sharlto Copley and Elizabeth Olsen and hits theaters on October 11th. [Press Release]

read more...

Tom Hardy

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting news round-up that continues its jam-packed week with stories involving Jesse Eisenberg, Emile Hirsche, Matt Smith, Kristen Stewart, Pierce Brosnan, and even more. We’re bursting at the seams here, people. Hearing that übermensch Tom Hardy is going to get a chance to beef up and kick some ass on screen is never a bad thing, so rejoice in the news that he’s just been cast as the lead of an action film called Locke. Anthem announced today [via ComingSoon] that they’ll be financing the film, which comes from a script by and will be directed by Eastern Promises writer Steven Knight. Locke is said to be about a man named Ivan Locke who receives a fateful phone call one day that forces him to put his entire life on the line in a “tension-fueled ninety minute race against time.” Title is the main character’s last name, plot has a real-time element…yeah, this definitely sounds like it was supposed to be a Jason Statham movie. Looks like somebody’s got some competition.

read more...

Very Good Girls

The first thing we’re supposed to learn about Lilly (Dakota Fanning) and Gerry (Elizabeth Olsen) is that they are best friends – no, like, best friends, sisters, totally bonded, deeply close, passionate friends. This is a fine sentiment – really, one of the best – but it’s a hard one to grasp when Lilly and Gerry, the center of Naomi Foner’s Very Good Girls trashcan their years-long friendship because some dude (and, also, this dude? Of all the dudes? This one?) is temporarily sexually attractive to both girls. Yes, it’s this story again. To be fair, Foner’s film does throw a few wrenches into this now-standard formula – namely that both girls are virgins looking for someone to change that before they head off to college, and that only one of the girls is aware that she’s involved in a love triangle – but it’s otherwise just another destructive addition to a genre of romance films that needs to go away, or at least be handled in a far more mature and compelling manner.

read more...

Liberal Arts Movie 2012

Editor’s note: Liberal Arts opens in limited release this Friday (just in time for back-to-school!), so please enjoy our Sundance review of the film, originally published on January 23, 2012. Triple threat Josh Radnor‘s first feature, happythankyoumoreplease, debuted at Sundance in 2010, hitting big with the crowds and ultimately winning the Audience Award. The film was written and directed by Radnor, who also starred in it as a disaffected twentysomething struggling to make meaningful connections with others in big, bad New York City. Radnor’s latest outing, Liberal Arts, is written and directed by Radnor, and stars the multi-hyphenate as– well, you probably know the rest. But while happythankyoumoreplease was perhaps too much of a classic first feature – complete with overly precious touches and too much reliance on the magic of coincidence and not enough emphasis on the sort of things that actually happen in the real world – Liberal Arts sees Radnor and his craft maturing wonderfully, which is startlingly in-line with the aims of the actual film.

read more...

Liberal Arts Movie 2012

In Liberal Arts, Josh Radnor plays a 35-year-old man who returns to his alma mater and meets a 19-year-old (Elizabeth Olsen) that completely floats his boat. They struggle through a fiery, instant connection in order to come to grips with their own personal hang ups. And that’s how he met your mother. The Sundance film – which was also written and directed by Radnor – now has a trailer that’s not nearly as twee as an indie romance should be. It’s close, but it’s toned down compared to its brethren, and it’s tough to beat Olsen being cool and advanced:

read more...

Editor’s note: Red Lights hits limited release this Friday, so please take this re-run of our Sundance review (originally posted on January 23, 2012) as a green light to give it a read. Rodrigo Cortés returns to Sundance after 2010’s Buried with another film about confinement and restriction – but one that turns those attentions to the human mind and its limits, instead of the body and its own absolutes. In Red Lights, Cortés sets his sights on the world of paranormal investigations, but in a way wholly different than we’ve come to expect from horror flicks that mine similar territory. Red Lights centers on Drs. Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) and Buckley (Cillian Murphy), who work to disprove paranormal activity. The pair split their time between teaching at a university (to packs of eager students) and traveling to presumed paranormal occurrences (to debunk them). Both Matheson and Buckley maintain that they’ve never seen true paranormal activity that cannot be explained in one way or another (most often due to simple lies and farce), but they’re about to be challenged by an old foe of Matheson’s who appears to break all the boundaries the pair set. Simon Silver (Robert De Niro) was once a famous blind psychic, who retired amidst whispers of behavior that led to the death of his greatest critic – and now, he’s returned.

read more...

Red Lights is a film filled with divisive questions. After the film’s Sundance premiere, many were either wrapping their heads around the grounded supernatural thriller’s final moments or completely scoffing at it. Whether one’s reaction is good or bad towards the questions writer/director Rodrigo Cortés is posing, he still gets a reaction out of you, as shown by the film’s early reviews. For most of its running time, Cortés is not afraid of playing with audience’s expectations and perceptions of the events as they play out on screen. Unlike his previous film, Buried, most of Red Lights can’t be taken literally. The difference between ambiguity and having no answers for your film’s questions can get blurred easily, but, as Cortés told us, he wrote and crafted the film with all of his own answers in mind. Here’s what Rodrigo Cortés had to say about the story’s exploration of duality, his flawed protagonists, and how to question everything we see in Red Lights:

read more...

Multi-hyphenate Josh Radnor has had a real nice time at the Sundance Film Festival. His debut film, happythankyoumoreplease, premiered at the festival in 2010, and he just brought his second feature, Liberal Arts, to Park City this past January. Both films star Radnor as a shiftless twentysomething who is, for a variety of reasons, unhappy with his current lot in life. But whereas happythankyoumoreplease tended to feel too twee, too naval-gazey, too unformed, Liberal Arts showed a tremendous progression in Radnor’s talents and execution. And now you can see it, too! IFC will release the film just in time for back to school on September 14 of this year. The film also stars Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney, and Zac Efron, and should be the perfect way to ease back into fall drudgery after the fireworks of the summer season.

read more...
NEXT PAGE  
Twitter button
Facebook button
Google+ button
RSS feed

published: 12.17.2014
B+
published: 12.15.2014
B
published: 12.12.2014
D+
published: 12.05.2014
C+


Some movie websites serve the consumer. Some serve the industry. At Film School Rejects, we serve at the pleasure of the connoisseur. We provide the best reviews, interviews and features to millions of dedicated movie fans who know what they love and love what they know. Because we, like you, simply love the art of the moving picture.
Fantastic Fest 2014
6 Filmmaking Tips: James Gunn
Got a Tip? Send it here:
editors@filmschoolrejects.com
Publisher:
Neil Miller
Managing Editor:
Scott Beggs
Associate Editors:
Rob Hunter
Kate Erbland
Christopher Campbell
All Rights Reserved © 2006-2014 Reject Media, LLC | Privacy Policy | Design & Development by Face3