Elizabeth Olsen

Deadline Hawthorne reports that, after weeks of speculation, Spike Lee‘s Oldboy has finally signed an interesting pick to play the film’s central villain. Sharlto Copley was the latest name rumored for the role just last month, but after rounds and rounds of unsuccessful casting for all three major roles in the film, it seemed like the project was a bit doomed. But now that Copley is officially set for the part, and costars Josh Brolin and Elizabeth Olsen remain locked in, the film is set to start filming in late September. Like Park Chan-wook’s 2003 film, Oldboy centers on Brolin’s character (in this incarnation, he is reportedly named “Joe Douchett”), a man who has been imprisoned against his will by an unknown man. Eventually freed, he’s set on a course to find the man who put him there (and to discover why) – Copley will play “Adrian Pryce,” “a mysterious billionaire trying to destroy the life of Joe Douchett.” But until Oldboy kicks off, Copley is busying himself with another high concept role, this time as a potential hero.

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At first glance, Peace, Love & Understanding looks like your typical indie film. The focus is on characters – relationships between parents and their children, budding romances – and the humor mostly comes from a political place, throwing uptight suit-and-tie types in a confined space with characters who are on the extreme left and watching them all chafe against each other. Chances are you could watch its first trailer and feel like it was an advertisement for a film that you’ve seen a hundred times before. That is, if it didn’t have such an appealing cast. They kind of set the project apart. Well-worn material or not, it’s pretty hard to catch wind of a movie that’s cast Jane Fonda, Catherine Keener, and Elizabeth Olsen as three generations of very different women and not get a little bit excited. With Fonda and especially Keener, you have a couple of acting veterans who always bring the goods in anything they do. And with Olsen you have a hot young performer who is going to have the eyes of Hollywood on everything she does, at least for her next few projects. Factor in that the leading ladies are being directed by a solid old hand in Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy, Mao’s Last Dancer) and Peace, Love & Understanding looks like it’s going to be a safe risk when you’re deciding what to hand your movie money over to.

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Back in 2010, Spanish director Rodrigo Cortés got the attention of U.S. audiences by putting Ryan Reynolds in a box for Buried. Now he’s back with an ensemble number that looks at the world of celebrity psychics. The first trailer for Red Lights doesn’t let us in on the secret of whether psychic powers really exist in its world or not, but it raises the question. And what it does reveal to us along the way is that it has an impressive cast that makes it look more than worth checking out. If you want to know more about the film, you can also check out Kate’s review from Sundance – or just check out the trailer below.

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Please let this one work out. Variety reports that Sharlto Copley has been offered the villain role in Spike Lee‘s take on Oldboy, a piece of casting so inventive and unexpected that I’ve gone a bit cross-eyed over it. Lee’s remake/reimagining of Chan-wook Park’s film (itself based on the manga by Nobuaki Minegishi and Garon Tsuchiya) has been plagued by great pieces of possible casting that have not panned out – from Colin Firth not taking on the baddie role to Rooney Mara sliding out on the female lead – so it’s high time someone outstanding signs on and gets this thing moving. Josh Brolin and Elizabeth Olsen are already on board for the film, with Brolin taking on the role that Choi Min-sik played in the South Korean version – a seemingly regular man who is kidnapped and kept in a single room for fifteen years. Eventually freed, he then embarks on a quest to find out who is responsible and why they did it – which, of course, plays right into the mastermind’s plan. Olsen’s role is that of a caseworker who works with Brolin to uncover the past, a twist on Kang Hye-jeong’s role as Mi-Do in the original film, who is a young sushi chef (who still helps out with that nasty past-uncovering).

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Up-and-coming actor Oscar Isaac seems determined to round out his slate with interesting and very different roles – after both his solid work in Drive and turning in the best performance in the blood-and-trash-splattered trainwreck that was Sucker Punch, we will next see him starring in the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis, The Bourne Legacy, and Ten Year. Past that, he will now reportedly star in Charlie Stratton’s Therese. The film, previously known as Therese Raquin (it appears that the title has been officially changed or everyone over at Deadline Orleans is too lazy to type it out completely), is based on the Emile Zola novel and play of the same name, and will star Elizabeth Olsen in the eponymous role. Set in the late 1800s, the film centers on Therese and the loveless marriage she’s been forced into with her sickly mama’s boy of a cousin, Camille (Tom Felton). Her overbearing aunt (Jessica Lange) is the ostensible matchmaker of this disastrous pair and her continued pressure on Therese, combined with the intolerable Camille, ultimately force Therese to look for love elsewhere – with Camille’s friend Laurent (to be played by Isaac). Even if you’re not familiar with the story, you can probably guess that it doesn’t end well. I mean, really, really not well.

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Kevin Carr

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr heads to the desert to hide in a cave, hoping against hope that some mystical bald alien will beam him to Mars so he can make a pass at the ridiculously gorgeous Lynn Collins in a brass bikini. Unfortunately, no one came to his rescue, so he snuck into an abandoned house in upstate New York to terrorize some people. Again, no one came. That left Kevin to skip his movies this week so he could go to the library and find a book that would allow him to curse Eddie Murphy into not speaking. He hasn’t been heard from since.

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A gimmicky horror film from Chris Kentis and Laura Lau (Open Water), Silent House keeps you engaged until that timeless genre staple, the moronic plot twist, takes the movie to a weird, sinister places and saps the fun out of it. Of course, that makes it hard to review the picture, which depends so heavily on that third act reveal. The first hour-plus is pretty gripping, a real-time single-take (undoubtedly including disguised cuts) depiction of a young woman named Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen) being tormented by mysterious stalkers inside a lakeside home she and her father (Adam Trese) are restoring. It’s a creepy place, with the windows boarded up, the doors locked and the power shut off. Cell phones don’t work and there are no neighbors. The filmmakers, remaking a 2010 Uruguayan movie, play up the closed-off quality by setting the action during the late afternoon, with the sun first setting outdoors. The slivers of light that occasionally peak in, suggesting that helps lies just outside the front door, make the home an ideal setting for a suffocating living nightmare.

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Elizabeth Olsen

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly collection of things you’ll enjoy. We promise. We begin tonight with the story of the evening. Or more to the point, the casting story of the evening. Elizabeth Olsen has been offered the lead role in Oldboy, the Spike Lee directed remake of the incredibly popular Korean revenge film. Heralded for her performance in Martha Marcy May Marlene, Olsen has burst onto the scene with her ability to act, something she has over her elder sisters, Mary Kate and Ashley. She’s a good choice for just about everything, even a movie that probably shouldn’t be attempted in the first place. Like this one.

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Thérèse Raquin, the period drama that Elizabeth Olsen and Glenn Close are teaming up for, has got some new casting news. In case you don’t remember, Thérèse Raquin is an adaptation of an Émile Zola story penned and set to be directed by Charlie Stratton. It tells the story of a Parisian girl in 1867 who is forced into a loveless marriage with her sniveling, weakling cousin at the behest of her domineering aunt. Eventually the girl, Thérèse, becomes enamored of one of her husband’s friends, and then murder and infidelity ensue. Olsen, of course, it set to play the young girl, and Close the aunt. But what of the two male characters? Originally I tried to spread the false rumor that Giovanni Ribisi would be playing the sickly husband, but thankfully nobody pays attention to what I say and the rumor didn’t spread. Now the role actually is in the process of being cast and the good news is that the actor who’s negotiating is probably the only person who has just as much experience at being sniveling and weird as Ribisi. Who better to play a sickly, annoying little turd than Draco Malfoy? That’s right, Daniel Radcliffe’s sneering nemesis from the last decade or so, Tom Felton, is looking likely to join the cast.

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Anton Yelchin

Sometime around Cannes last year we reported that Elizabeth Olsen and Dakota Fanning would be starring in a new movie by first time director Naomi Foner called Very Good Girls. It’s a story that Foner penned about a couple of young girls who have made a pact to lose their virginities, who then come into conflict with each other when they fall in love with the same “charismatic street artist.” All these months later it appears that this film is finally gearing up to happen, and there’s some news about who has been cast to play the deadbeat object of their misguided affections. No, it’s not the guy who played Nick from Family Ties like I suggested originally, Foner and company went in a completely different direction. According to a report from Deadline Leningrad, curly-headed manic pixie dream boy Anton Yelchin is in final negotiations to take the role. Those that saw him in last year’s Like Crazy know that Yelchin is no stranger to adeptly playing young love related melodrama, and the kid is just so cheek-pinchingly cute… so I guess this casting was kind of a no-brainer. There’s no telling what Foner is going to be able to deliver as a director, but I now find myself looking forward to this one on the strength of the cast alone. I hope it’s a story interesting enough to deserve so many talented young actors teaming up.

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The upcoming movie Kill Your Darlings will look at the relationship between beat authors Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, and the man who introduced them, Lucien Carr. It was a relationship that reportedly began with murder, as soon after the three became friends Carr was implicated in the killing of another man named David Kammerer, and the famous authors found themselves caught in the middle of all the drama. Sounds like a saucy little story, especially with the “based on true events” factor that it has working for it. But perhaps even more exciting than the murder aspects of this story is the cast that it is now being assembled to bring it to life. The first casting announcement was that Daniel Radcliffe would be shrugging off his wizarding robe and branching out in another direction to portray Ginsberg. The idea of watching Radcliffe do something so different could have been enough to sell people on this movie alone, but some new casting details have surfaced that add to the anticipation. According to a report from Variety, not only has the Kerouac role been filled by Boardwalk Empire’s Jack Huston, and the Carr role filled by In Treatment’s Dane DeHaan, but Martha Marcy May Marlene’s breakout star Elizabeth Olsen has signed on as well. She’ll be playing Edie Parker, who was an art student and a girlfriend of Kerouac’s.

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Elizabeth Olsen

After standing tall upon the rubble of bones and ash, letting loose a hyena-like cackle and biting into the leg of an indie producer while the blood dripped down her cheeks, Elizabeth Olsen will now return to the land she conquered last year with two new features. The actress who crushed audiences in Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene and (to a lesser extent) Silent House heads back to Sundance with two new battle axes to grind. The first is Peace, Love and Misunderstanding where she continues her love of commas alongside co-stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chace Crawford and Catherine Keener. The dramedy focuses on a woman in the midst of a possible divorce who reunites with her estranged hippie mother (Jane Fonda) on her hippie farm with the kids in tow. It played at Toronto and apparently works well without being too difficult to digest. The other film is Josh Radnor‘s Liberal Arts. The How I Met Your Mother star’s second outing as feature writer/director sees him playing a man headed back to his old college only to fall in love with a bright, beautiful young woman played by Olsen. So, it seems like there’s nothing in the holster that’s as challenging as MMMM, but Olsen has already dominated that scene, and her return is a kind of victory lap on her way to even more work. Hopefully you enjoy watching her do what she does, because she’s going to be around for a while. And so will we because we’ll […]

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Movies presented in real-time are a sort of rarity. High Noon and Rope jump to the mind immediately, and they’re fantastic, but there are also a handful of films that never got past the concept as pure gimmick. However, it’s always been interesting to guess at what the appeal of taking away the possibility of jumping forward or back in time really is. One obvious trick, is the creation of suspense. A constantly ticking clock that the audience is physically aware of. That seems to be alive and well for Sundance favorite Silent House which features Sundance favorite Elizabeth Olsen. It comes from Open Water creators Chris Kentis and Laura Lau, and tells the story of a young woman and her father who are stuck inside a home where a noise continues to grow louder and louder. It’s based off the Uruguayan movie from Gustavo Hernandez that Rob was not a big fan of. Gimmick-based or not, the trailer here is pretty damned limp. It’s composed almost entirely of shots of Olsen breathing heavily and then a poorly shot “thing of some sort” grabbing her? Not grabbing her? Hard to say. Check it out for yourself:

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Last week, the 2012 Sundance Film Festival announced their first wave of programming, featuring twenty-six titles that will be screening in competition. They followed that with the announcement of their Spotlight, Next, Park City at Midnight, and New Frontiers films. It was two days of absolute madness and glee, and the festival sagely waited a few days, giving us the buffer of a weekend to catch our collective breath, before breaking out the big guns. The Premiere and Documentary Premieres. That’s a bit clunky – so the Premieres! The Premieres are here! Per usual, here’s a list of films that immediately jump out at me: Julie Delpy’s follow-up to 2 Days in Paris, the Delpy and Chris Rock-starring 2 Days in New York, Nicholas Jarecki’s Abritrage (which stars one of last year’s break-out stars, Brit Marling, in her fist big-time feature role), Lee Toland Krieger’s Celeste and Jesse Forever (which stars co-writer Rashida Jones), Stephen Frears’ Lay the Favorite, Josh Radnor’s second film Liberal Arts (also starring one of last year’s big stars, Elizabeth Olsen), Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer, Stacy Peralta’s Bones Brigade: An Autobiography, and Amy Berg’s West of Memphis. Check out the full list of Sundance Film Festival Premiere picks after the break.

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Hugo

It is day four of awards season, and already some names are growing wearyingly familiar, and even the surprises don’t quite pop like they used to. On Monday evening, the Gothams announced their annual awards, followed swiftly by the Film Independent Spirit nominations announcement and the NYFCC’s winners, but director Martin Scorsese and his latest film, Hugo, were without some big awards love – until now. The National Board of Review has announced their best-of picks for the year, and Hugo has topped out as Best Film, with Scorsese grabbing Best Director. As the film opened just last week, here’s hoping that this NBR endorsement will pump up somewhat lackluster box office returns. Paired with a weekend box office free of new major releases, and maybe Hugo can swing up to the top of the heap. As for the rest of the Board’s awards, there’s a bevy of names here that already seem like old hat – picks like Christopher Plummer for Beginners and The Artist, The Descendants, and The Tree of Life as a “top” films for the year – but there are still a few eyebrow-raisers, as our friends over at /Film note, J.C. Chandor picking up another award for his debut, Margin Call, continues to be surprising. Where is Sean Durkin and his own Sundance hit Martha Marcy May Marlene? And J. Edgar as one of the year’s best? And a Breakthrough to Felicity Jones and Rooney Mara, but no Elizabeth Olsen? Bizarre, really. But there are […]

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The 21st Gotham Independent Film Awards kicked off awards season with their ceremony this evening, doling out a limited number of awards to some of the strongest independent voices and films of the year. The Gothams cover just seven categories, but they often signal big trends and name up-and-comers, what with awards named things like Breakthrough Director and Actor or Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You. The final jury is made up of “distinguished filmmakers,” though you’d be hard-pressed to find a list of just who is on that jury this year. The Gothams turned in some real surprises tonight (big enough that, even as the first award show of the year, they are still considered shocks, that’s something), with the two biggest nomination-getters, The Descendants and Martha Marcy May Marlene, coming away without a thing. Martha Marcy May Marlene missing out on awards is certainly bizarre enough, but what may well be the biggest upset from that shut-out is lead actress Elizabeth Olsen losing out on Breakthrough Actor to Felicity Jones. Both ladies starred in Sundance hits (MMMM and Like Crazy, respectively), but back in January, I cannot imagine that anyone would have placed Jones’ performance above Olsen’s (including myself, and I quite liked both films and both performances). Other jaw-droppers? Mike Mills‘ Beginners taking home Best Feature – along with Terrence Malick‘s The Tree of Life, as the two productions tied for the honor. If this is a hint as to how unpredictable the coming season […]

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Elizabeth Olsen

Coming fresh off her head turning performance in the recently released Martha Marcy May Marlene, relative newcomer Elizabeth Olsen is now starting to line up future roles. The latest of which will be in a movie called Thérèse Raquin, which is an adaptation of an Émile Zola story that was first published as a novel in 1867 and then became a play in 1873. The story, set in Paris in 1867, centers on a young woman named Thérèse who is forced into a loveless marriage with her first cousin by her domineering aunt Madame Raquin. Raquin’s son Camille is sickly, weak, and something of a mama’s boy, so Thérèse is anything but happy with the marriage. Sexy affairs and scandalous murder plots follow.

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What is Movie News After Dark? As per usual, it’s a nightly movie news column that finds a way to get a little silly on Monday nights. It’s mostly weekend hangover related, but also a product of its own environment. On weekend, it plays a clown in a traveling circus. It lives a diverse life like that. We begin tonight with an image of the Monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. As you know, Halloween is coming up and we’re all looking for good costume ideas. Over at io9, the nerds from the future have it listed as one of their 20 zero-effort, high-concept Halloween costumes guaranteed to alienate your friends. For those of us who dislike both effort and friends.

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The real-life experience of being seduced into a cult and dealing with its psychological ramifications is probably a lot like that undergone by Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) in Martha Marcy May Marlene. That’s the highest praise one could offer this engaging drama, which arrives in theaters after causing a mini sensation on the festival circuit, complete with an unfortunate title and a brand new Indie It Girl in Olsen. Writer/director Sean Durkin‘s feature filmmaking debut isn’t going to cure global hunger or cause world peace, despite what the frenzied hype might suggest. It is, however, an assured work that achieves the tricky feat of offering a finely-tuned window into the existential burdens of its protagonist while simultaneously keeping her at a distance. The picture’s split chronology parallels Martha’s introduction into the Upstate New York “family” led by the manipulative, charismatic Patrick (John Hawkes) and her re-integration into her real family two years later. Without launching into convoluted explanations for Martha’s actions, the film follows her experiences in the harrowing reclusive clan, which has a propensity for guns, austere clothing and psychological torture, as well as a general acceptance of vicious physical abuse. At the same time, she is shown adrift in the lavish lakefront Connecticut home of her sister Lucy (Sarah Paulson) and brother-in-law Ted (Hugh Dancy).

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Very few films resemble the structure of Martha Marcy May Marlene. The story follows a young girl, Martha (Elizaebth Olsen), both when she was a part of a cult and when she leaves it to try to relive a normal life. The psychological drama doesn’t give you the introduction of how Martha made it into the cult, which one would expect to take up the first act, and the film also ends on a scene that would’ve been the beginning of any other story’s third act. Martha Marcy May Marlene features subverted conventions, bare-boned exposition, and a whole lot of ambiguity. However, writer/director Sean Durkin never approached his drama to deliberately “subvert conventions,” it just happened to turn out that way. Durkin confessed to never quite getting the lessons from screenwriting courses, and perhaps that was for the better. By avoiding expected screenwriting tropes, in his feature debut, Durkin made an anti-cliche cult film. There are no heroes. There is no third act bang. Plus, the moral compass of the film, Ted (Hugh Dancy), is almost as off-putting as the ambiguous cult leader, Patrick (John Hawkes). Clearly, not your regular “cult” film. Here’s what Sean Durkin had to say about cracking the structure of Martha Marcy May Marlene, approaching the story with a fresh perspective, despising lazy flashbacks, and the mysterious ways of the warm and scary community leader, Patrick:

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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