Emily Browning

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For the dozens of people out there who love the Starz series, Spartacus, but just wish it had none of that graphic sex and violence nonsense… have I got a movie for you. Milo is just a boy when he witnesses Roman soldiers slaughter his family and his people in 62 A.D., and seventeen years later the now man-sized Milo (Kit Harington) is a slave turned gladiator known only as The Celt who entertains the empire in backwater arena brawls. The latest stop on his bloody tour is the waterside city of Pompeii, and on the way into town he shares a meet cute over a dying horse with Cassia (Emily Browning), the daughter of some high-ranking Pompeians. Unfortunately for them both, someone else has his eye on Cassia too, and to make matters worse, he’s the same man who led the slaughter of Milo’s people. Oh, and they’re also all living in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius in the days leading up to its devastating eruption. Pompeii wants to be Gladiator meets Volcano with a love story crammed in for good measure, and it succeeds to the degree that it blatantly rips off Gladiator, sets its action around an erupting volcano, and features paper-thin characters who fall in love in their first few minutes together. Director Paul W. S. Anderson‘s latest isn’t a good movie, but it’s also not so bad that it’s ironically good. So that’s unfortunate.

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Pompeii

In the list of things Jon Snow knows nothing about, we can add “how volcanoes work” to the mix. In the story of the doomed city at the foot of the mountain, Kit Harington is the dashing hero who must swoop in to save his love (Emily Browning) and his gladiator friend trapped in the coliseum when Mount Vesuvius starts spewing. Because nothing says “a romance for the ages” like a ferocious natural disaster that claimed the lives of approximately 16,000 people in a scorching, merciless death (seriously, the eruption caused Pompeii’s citizens to “flash-heat” in an instant when a volcanic surge caused temperatures to reach 570°F), Paul W.S. Anderson‘s Pompeii will hopefully focus less on the kissin’ and more on the fleeing.

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plush

Though most of us first met Emily Browning as the cute young lady in the family-friendly Lemony Snicket movie, in more recent years she’s grown up quite a bit, and has now become known for taking edgier, more adult roles. That’s a nice way of saying that she got hot, real hot, and she’s been taking advantage of her hotness by starring in sex-soaked exploitation fare like Sucker Punch and Sleeping Beauty. Like chocolate and peanut butter, Emily Browning and sexual overtones just seem to go together well, so the actress looks to be keeping the ball rolling with her next film, Plush, which sees her starring as a sexy young rock star who’s being seduced over to the dark side by a swarthy lothario. Already we’ve seen a red band teaser for the film that was little more than a bunch of sexy imagery set to a song, but now a full trailer for the film has been released, and it’s one that gives us a better look at the story that Plush is going to tell alongside all its titillation. What we’ve got here is some good, old-fashioned stalker horror that seems like it would look appropriate sitting on a shelf next to early 90s fare like Poison Ivy and The Crush. Enjoy.

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Plush

It seems fitting that the teaser trailer for the story of a deeply troubled rock star is fashioned in the style of a music video more than anything else. But though young Hayley’s living her own personal episode of Behind the Music in Catherine Hardwicke‘s Plush, her story at least deserves a trailer with some dialogue. Hayley (Emily Browning) is a rising rock star who swiftly dives off the deep end when her brother and bandmate overdoses. But while she’s in the midst of her downward spiral of drugs, booze, bad bleach jobs, and sex (Did you get that she’s sexual? They really want you to understand that she’s sexual), she finds inspiration and friendship (the sex kind) in the guitarist hired to replace her brother (Xavier Samuel). Check out the trailer for yourself here:

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Pompeii

One of the best things about Paul W.S. Anderson‘s Three Musketeers trailer was that ridiculous gatling gun, so if he was willing to bring that kind of tech to 17th century, why not offer it up to the 1st? The weapons of Pompeii are all swords and fire, but maybe he’s saving the heavy anachronistic artillery for later. We can only hope. Also curiously missing is Milla Jovovich flipping around and kicking people. It hardly looks like an Anderson movie at all. So what does it have? A bunch of people encased in ash, Emily Browning kissing Kit Harington with gusto and one pissed-off volcano. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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magic-magic2

If there’s any one reason for you to give Magic Magic a chance, it’s that it’s the new thriller from Chilean director Sebastián Silva, who turned a lot of heads with 2009’s The Maid, but hasn’t really had the chance to break through to the mainstream yet. Fortunately for all of us though, there isn’t just one reason to give Magic Magic a chance. There are many. Not the least of which is that its cast includes ethereal beauties like Juno Temple and Emily Browning, as well as perennial weirdo Michael Cera, who seems to be using his usual penchant for social awkwardness to go in a totally fresh, dangerous direction in the trailer for this new film. Looking for that rare movie that’s beautifully shot and wonderfully acted, but is still just a good, old-fashioned horror tale that’s going to creep you the heck out? Then Magic Magic might be just the thing for you. Cera’s blank creep face is enough to give you the willies alone. Click through to give the trailer a gander.

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quvenzhane-wallis

What is Casting Couch? It’s full of casting news, just full of it. Today you can find out what’s next for foreign heartthrobs Michael Roskam and Marion Cotillard. Quvenzhané Wallis has been in the news a lot lately. Not only did the adorable nine-year-old stir up some controversy at Sunday’s Oscar ceremony by skinning a puppy and wearing it as a purse, she’s also been the subject of rumors regarding the Will Smith-produced remake of Annie. After Smith’s daughter Willow dropped out of the film’s starring role because she’s probably in her twenties now or something, it was rumored that Wallis would be stepping in to take her place. Deadline now confirms that this is indeed the case, and Wallis is all set to become the new face of everyone’s favorite orphan. Easy A’s Will Gluck will direct her.

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When I first heard about Sebastián Silva’s next movie, Magic, Magic, I had yet to see any of the director’s work, but I was excited at the cast he had assembled, because it was made up mostly of hot young actresses. Since then, some of that has changed. If you’re not yet familiar with Silva, go check out his 2009 film The Maid. It’s a movie that managed to be tense and dramatic just by telling the story of an aging maid worried about losing her position in a prominent Chilean household because of the presence of a new, young au pair. In my opinion, it proved the man to have a sure hand behind the camera, and it put him firmly on the list of directors to watch. Go ahead, I’ll wait… Okay, now that we’re all on the same page, let’s start getting excited for his new (and apparently newly untitled) thriller that stars some more familiar Hollywood names like Michael Cera, Juno Temple, Emily Browning, and Maria Full of Grace’s Catalina Sandino Moreno.

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Film is a powerful medium, and the best ones can make you feel strongly one way or the other about fictional characters and their make-believe lives. These people exist only on the screen, and yet we can feel joy, fear, love, hatred and so much more for them as if they were living and breathing beside us. Most movies never accomplish this feat. And Sleeping Beauty is no different. Instead Julia Leigh‘s debut film manages something decidedly unique. The lead character is passive, bland and as emotionally inspiring as a wash cloth, but the actress who plays her? You just may find yourself feeling bad, embarrassed and fearful for her. Lucy (Emily Browning) is a college student like many others. She attends class during the day and at night works in a restaurant or office and occasionally volunteers for paid medical experiments. Sure, some nights she heads to swanky bars to do lines of coke with Asian women in the bathroom, but mostly she works hard. It never seems to be enough though as she’s always behind in her rent and at risk of being booted out by her roommates. Until she responds to an ad for a silver service waitress to work private parties. The interview is brief but invasive, and it comes with two warnings. Don’t make a career of this. And indiscretion will not be tolerated.

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Remember the time in college when you were strapped for cash and ended up working as a subconscious prostitute where anyone with a few bucks could have their way with you in your sleep? Yeah, we had that wiped from our memory too. Thankfully, Julia Leigh‘s new film Sleeping Beauty won’t let us forget. Here’s the trailer if you want to refresh yourself and get some context for the big spooning image of Emily Browning and your grandpa to the right. It hit Cannes with a mixed vengeance, and it should be in theaters (limited style), but it’s also available right this second on SundanceNOW. That is, if you like paying for things. Since we don’t, we’re giving away a free online ticket to see the movie through that wonderful website. How do you enter? How do you win? Glad you asked.

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As the temperatures turn just the slightest bit colder and the fall colors settle in the landscape (if you’re lucky enough to live near trees), we should start directing our film focus to the fall movie season. We love summer for its mind-numbing fun, but the last season of the year tends to offer some of the most vulnerable, honest, and captivating films (you know, just in time for that other “big O”). Fall supplies films meant to scandalize our minds and even our naughty bits, and there is nothing wrong with that. But with so many films and film festivals to choose from between now and December, it becomes overwhelming to sort through all the goodness being dispensed our way. Lucky for you, my love of highlighting full-frontal male nudity and questionable sexual conduct happens to pay off for a change. Below you’ll find a helpful collection of five sultry features sure to stimulate your brain and your nethers.

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Like many of my fellow Rejects, I am currently recovering from the insanity that was Fantastic Fest 2011. Over the course of four days I viewed a relatively tame amount of films (10 – I’m not a champ this time around), each one, even the crap ones, expanding my movie watching mind. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I selected the most sexually involved films I could, pausing briefly for a palate cleanser of adorable in A Boy and His Samurai, and I look forward to sharing some of my insights on the loneliness of loving a sex doll in the coming weeks. But for now, let’s jump right into the eccentricities of loving something we shouldn’t. As a sex writer, I’m constantly asked to voice my opinion on any frisky business ranging from the sweet nibbles of a new lover all the way to the “am I weird for liking this and that?” Typically, I provide a sort of get-out-of-jail-free card by giving a basic of sex-positive response along the lines of “you like what you like” or “your kink isn’t my kink, but your kink is okay” (unless the kink involved is so taboo I have to flip a table and walk away). But last week the same topic kept coming up: The sex appeal of the bad girl. Yes, there’s nothing new in feeling attracted to a girl who can beat you up, take your money, and then kiss you on the cheek before she leaves […]

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Drinking Games

Just because the hot girls in Zach Snyder’s visually assaulting film Sucker Punch aren’t old enough to drink, nothing is stopping you from watching the movie and playing this drinking game… unless you’re as old as the main characters of the film. While Sucker Punch has its ups and downs, it’s a visually interesting flick with plenty of fishnets, stockings, push-up bras and a bad Russian accent courtesy of Carla Gugino. What’s stopping you from watching it on DVD or Blu-ray and knocking back a couple sips of your favorite spirit? You know you want to.

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When I hear that there’s a movie in the works called Magic, Magic I instantly think that it’s probably a movie about young witches, something going after all of that mystical-teenagers in love money. Well, despite the fact that it has just cast three hot, young actresses in key roles, Magic, Magic doesn’t appear to be that at all. According to Variety, “The pic revolves around a girl vacationing with her friends in a remote area of Chile who slowly starts losing her mental faculties.” Joining the already announced Michael Cera is Suckerpunch’s Emily Browning, Jack and Diane’s Juno Temple, and Maria Full of Grace’s Catalina Sandino Moreno. That’s one lucky Michael Cera. Magic, Magic is being directed by Sebastien Silva, a Chilean director who has seen success with small films La vida me mata, The Maid, and Old Cats. I haven’t seen any of Silva’s work myself, so I can’t vouch for its quality, but casting three gorgeous actresses for his new one is a pretty good strategy at getting my attention from here on. Production is scheduled to start late in the summer, so presumably we’ll be hearing more about this one soon. Until then I’m going to make it a point to stop thinking that I’m going to be seeing a movie about teenage witches every time I read the title.

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The second film of the day, following Midnight in Paris this morning, Sleeping Beauty is the only Australian film included this year, starring Emily Browning (who hopefully won’t be a high-profile casualty of Snyder’s sickly Sucker Punch) as a University student drawn into a mysterious hidden world of beauty and desire. Or at least that’s what the marketing material says. Regardless of what they position this erotic, chiller had already been picking up a lot of buzz, possibly because the official synopsis that I read as part of the bulging press pack (stuffed lovingly into my press PO box this morning) suggested a film about a girl who willingly becomes a Sleeping Beauty – or someone who takes a sleeping pill and allows herself to have “erotic experiences” with “old men” that she has no control over. Funny that, because Browning’s whole role in Sucker Punch can be labelled as overly eroticized and submissive too. Zing!

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a movie news column that is content with entertaining you on a nightly basis with the best links and tidbits the web has to offer. But in reality, it wishes that it could be out there fighting for the side of humanity in the great world war against the zombie invasion. It has big dreams, this nightly feature. As you know, there are three things I can’t avoid writing about in this here column: Michael Bay movies, Doctor Who and World War Z. The third is perhaps one of the greatest texts ever written about the zombie apocalypse. What I did not know is that it was almost turned into an awesome video game, as this Kotaku investigative report suggests. As you can see from tonight’s headline image, it would have been very cool.

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The last film Emily Browning was in featured her exploited, stripped down to lingerie and kicking a dragon’s ass. For Sleeping Beauty, it looks like she’ll be exploited and stripped down without a dragon in sight. The film from writer/director Julia Leigh was selected for Cannes in competition, and tells the story of a young student (played by Browning) who takes a job where men fulfill their sexual fantasies with her while she’s asleep. Of course, the trailer is sufficiently haunting, and it spells out a potentially bleak film that explores a person as object. Check it out for yourself:

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Sucker Punch feels like Zack Snyder‘s response to all those awkward and sexist nerds he and his cast deal with in Hall-H nearly every year. You know, the ones that can’t help but to shout out how “hot” the actresses are during the panel, and without actually asking any real questions or treating them respectfully. Those nerds are the sideline oppressors of Sucker Punch: the revolting-looking Chef and Mayor, the ones that love seeing their women in degrading and sexualized outfits, but don’t care about how or why they’re in said outfits. As long as they get their joy out of sexy women doing sexy things, and nothing outside the basic titillation, they’ll be happy. This is the subtext that many seem to not talking about from Sucker Punch. Snyder’s work has always been divisive, but never has one of his films been this polarizing, and he knows that. Snyder is well-aware of the response the film has been getting, and he’s the type of self-aware filmmaker who probably expected this type of reaction from day one of shooting. The fact that Sucker Punch isn’t a film for everyone surely must have caused problems along the way, and as Snyder states, the test-screening process was no help in that regard.

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This piece contains spoilers for Sucker Punch. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, go watch it before diving in. Once the first images hit, or when the first synopsis hit, or maybe even when Zack Snyder dreamed up the concept for Sucker Punch ten years ago – a time bomb was set to explode twice, and it finally did this weekend. The first explosion was the basis for the existence of the movie, and it continued exploding many, many times during the runtime. The second was the question of feminism. Now that the movie is out, it has also exploded. The reactions from before the film was released varied, and they still do. Some see it as feminism merged with geek culture (which assumes geek culture isn’t sexless to begin with). Some see it as an affront to the advancement of women parading in thigh high boots. One who gives a strong argument for the latter is Angie Han of /film, who writes the hell out of an editorial called “On Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch: Why Ass-Kicking and Empowerment Aren’t Always the Same Thing.” You should absolutely go read it before reading this, although I’ll do my best to condense her arguments (in a fair way) in order to respectfully counter them.

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Right around ten years ago Zack Snyder had an idea. An idea that would come to take up about thirty seconds of Sucker Punch, but lend to the film its main character, its title, and its sex appeal. That original idea revolved around a girl named Baby Doll who escaped into the recesses of her mind while dancing for some very bad men. He then partnered with his school buddy Steve Shibuya to start working that into a script. Things were probably going pretty okay on that, but they were about to get a lot better when Snyder found himself helming Dawn of the Dead, my personal choice for best zombie movie ever. You heard that right, Romero. Sitting next to Snyder at the press junket, the man did no less than doodle an X-Wing on a pad of paper while talking, as if he needed anything more than Watchmen to solidify his nerd-cred. Before talking about the visually complex Sucker Punch, Snyder, sitting alongside wife and producing partner Debbie, the director took a moment to give us a glimpse into his filmmaking past, revealing as one might expect he was an early overachiever. One of his student films in the basic introductory film classes was a World War I epic, complete with trenches dug by a rented backhoe. Before you get antsy, I’ll tell you what he said about his upcoming Superman movie: nothing. As in, he’s not allowed to speak of it. Duh. What he did express was […]

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